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Deliverance of the Iloly Saint Nichireu from the Executioner of Hojo. [Page 165. 





From 660 B.C. to 1872 A.D. 









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 
















JAPAN, once in the far-off Orient, is now our nearest Western neigh- 
bor. Her people walk our streets ; her youth sit, peers and rivals of 
our students, in the class-room ; her art adorns our homes, and has 
opened to us a new Gate Beautiful. The wise men from the West 
are, at this writing, opening their treasures of tea, silk, gold-lacquer, 
bronzes, and porcelain at the first centennial of our nation's birth. 

We hail the brightness of the rising of this first among Asiatic na- 
tions to enter modern life, to win and hold a place among the fore- 
most peoples of the earth. It is time that a writer treated Japan as 
something else than an Oriental puzzle, a nation of recluses, a land of 
fabulous wealth, of universal licentiousness or of Edenic purity, the 
fastness of a treacherous and fickle crew, a Paradise of guileless chil- 
dren, a Utopia of artists and poets. It is time to drop the license of 
exaggeration, and, with the light of common day, yet with sympathy 
and without prejudice, seek to know what Dai Nippon is and has been. 

It has been well said by a literary critic and reader of all the books 
on the subject that to write a good history of Japan is difficult, not so 
much from lack of materials, but from the differences in psychology. 
This I realize. My endeavor, during eight years' living contact with 
these people, has been, from their language, books, life, and customs, to 
determine their mental parallax, and find out how they think and feel. 

I have not made this book in libraries at home, but largely on the 
soil of the mikado's empire. I have slight obligation to acknowledge 
to foreign writers, except to those working scholars in Japan who 
have written during the last decade with knowledge of the language. 
To them I owe much ; first and most of all to Mr. Ernest Satow, who, 
in the special department of historical research, stands leader. To 
Messrs. Aston, Mitford, Pfoundes, Hepburn, Brown, Blakiston, Von 
Brandt, and Parkes, I am also indebted. I am under many obligations 


to the editor of The Japan Mail. This scholarly paper, published in 
Yokohama, is a most valuable mirror of contemporaneous Japanese 
history, and a rich store-house of facts, especially the papers of the 
Asiatic Society of Japan. The Japan Herald and The Japan Gazette 
have also been of great service to me, for which I here thank the 
proprietors. The constant embarrassment in treating many subjects 
has been from wealth of material. I have been obliged to leave out 
several chapters on important subjects, and to treat others with mere 
passing allusions. 

In the early summer of 1868, two Higo students, Ise and Numaga- 
wa, arrived in the United States. They were followed by retainers of 
the daimios of Satsuma and Echizen, and other feudal princes. I was 
surprised and delighted to find these earnest youth equals of Ameri- 
can students in good-breeding, courtesy, and mental acumen. Some 
of them remained under my instruction two years, others for a short- 
er time. Among my friends or pupils in New Brunswick, New Jer- 
sey, are Mr. Yoshida Kiyonari, H. I. J. M. Minister Plenipotentiary at 
Washington ; Mr. Takagi Samro, H. I. J. M. Vice-consul at San Fran- 
cisco ; Mr. Tomita Tetsunosuke, H. I. J. M. Consul at New York ; Mr. 
Hatakeyama Yoshinari, President of the Imperial University of Ja- 
pan ; Captain Matsumura Junzo, of the Japanese navy. Among oth- 
ers were the two sons of Iwakura Tomomi, Junior Prime Minister of 
Japan ; and two young nobles of the Shimadzu family of Satsuma. 
I also met Prince Adzuma, nephew of the mikado, and many of the 
prominent men, ex-daimios, Tokugawa retainers, soldiers in the war of 
1868, and representatives of every department of service under the old 
shogunate and new National Government. Six white marble shafts in 
the cemetery at New Brunswick, New Jersey, mark the resting-place 
of Kusukabe Taro, of Fukui, and his fellow-countrymen, whose devo- 
tion to study cost them their lives. I was invited by the Prince of 
Echizen, while Regent of the University, through the American super- 
intendent, Rev. G. F. Verbeck, to go out to organize a scientific school 
on the American principle in Fukui, Echizen, and give instruction in 
the physical sciences. I arrived in Japan, December 29th, 1870, and 
remained until July 25th, 1874. During all my residence I enjoyed the 
society of cultivated scholars, artists, priests, antiquaries, and students, 
both in the provincial and national capitals. From the living I bore 
letters of introduction to the prominent men in the Japanese Govern- 
ment, and thus were given to me opportunities for research and obser- 
vation not often afforded to foreigners. My facilities for regular and 


extended travel were limited only by my duties. Nothing Japanese 
was foreign to me, from palace to beggar's hut. I lived in Dai Nip- 
pon during four of the most pregnant years of the nation's history. 
Nearly one year was spent alone in a daimio's capital far in the in- 
terior, away from Western influence, when feudalism was in its full 
bloom, and the old life in vogue. In the national capital, in the time 
well called " the flowering of the nation," as one of the instructors in 
the Imperial University, having picked students from all parts of the 
empire, I was a witness of the marvelous development, reforms, dan- 
gers, pageants, and changes of the epochal years 1872, 1873, and 
1874. With pride I may say truly that I have felt the pulse and 
heart of New Japan. 

I have studied economy in the matter of Japanese names and titles, 
risking the charge of monotony for the sake of clearness. The schol- 
ar will, I trust, pardon me for apparent anachronisms and omissions. 
For lack of space or literary skill, I have had, in some cases, to con- 
dense with a brevity painful to a lover of fairness and candor. The 
title justifies the emphasis of one idea that pervades the book. 

In the department of illustrations, I claim no originality, except in 
their selection. Many are from photographs taken for me by natives 
in Japan. Those of my artist - friend, Ozawa, were nearly all made 
from life at my suggestion. I have borrowed many fine sketches 
from native books, through Aime Humbert, whose marvelously beau- 
tiful and painstaking work, "Japon Illustre," is a mine of illustra- 
tion. Few artists have excelled in spirit and truth Mr. A. Wirgman, 
the artist of The London Illustrated News, a painter of real genius, 
whose works in oil now adorn many home parlors of ex-residents in 
Japan, and whose gems, fine gold, and dross fill the sprightly pages of 
The Japan Punch. Many of his sketches adorn Sir Rutherford Al- 
cock's book on the vicissitudes of diplomatists, commonly called " The 
Capital of the Tycoon," or " Three Years in Japan." I am indebted 
both to this gentleman and to Mr. Laurence Oliphant, who wrote the 
charming volume, " Lord Elgin's Mission to China and Japan," for 
many illustrations, chiefly from native sketches. Through the liberal- 
ity of my publishers, I am permitted to use these from their stores of 
plates. I believe I have in no case reproduced old cuts without new 
or correct information that will assist the general reader or those who 
wish to study the various styles of the native artists, five of which are 
herein presented. Hokusai, the Dickens, and Kamo, the Audubon 
of Japanese art, are well represented. The photographs of the living 


and of the renowned dead, from temples, statues, or old pictures, from 
the collections of daimios and nobles, are chiefly by Uchida, a native 
photographer of rare ability, skill, and enthusiasm, who unfortunately 
died in 1875. Four vignettes are copied from the steel-plate engrav- 
ings on the greenbacks printed in New York for the Ono National 
Banking Company of Tokio, by the Continental Bank-note Company 
of New York. 

I gratefully acknowledge the assistance derived from native schol- 
ars in Fukui and Tokio, especially Messrs. Iwabuchi, Takakashi, and 
Ideura, my readers and helpers. To the members of the Mei Roku 
Sha, who have honored me with membership in their honorable body, 
I return my best thanks. This club of authors and reformers includes 
such men as Fukuzawa, Arinori Mori, Nakamura Masanawo, Kato Hi- 
royuki, Nishi Shiu, the Mitsukuri brothers, Shuihei and Rinsho, Uchi- 
da Masawo, Hatakeyama Yoshinari, and others, all names of fame and 
honor, and earnest workers in the regeneration of their country. To 
my former students now in New York, who have kindly assisted me 
in proof-reading, and last and first of all to Mr. Tosui Imadate, my 
friend and constant companion during the last six years, I return my 
thanks and obligations. I omit in this place the names of high offi- 
cers in the Japanese Government, because the responsibility for any 
opinion advanced in this work rests on no native of Japan. That is 
all my own. To my sister, the companion, during two years, of sev- 
eral of my journeys and visits in the homes of the island empire, I 
owe many an idea and inspiration to research. To the publishers of 
the North American Review, Appletons 1 Journal, and The Independent 
my thanks are due for permission to print part of certain chapters 
first published in these periodicals. 

I trust the tone of the work will not seem dogmatic. I submit 
with modesty what I have written on the Ainos. I am inclined to 
believe that India is their original home ; that the basic stock of the 
Japanese people is Aino ; and that in this fact lies the root of the 
marvelous difference in the psychology of the Japanese and their 
neighbors, the Chinese. 

" Can a nation be born at once ?" " With God all things are pos- 

W. E. G. 

New York, May I0t?i, 1876. 

































JAPAN, 1870-1875. 




















XVIII. NEW JAPAN... .. 562 















TEA CROP OF 1875 599 

CENSUS OF JAPAN FOR 1872 AND 1873 600 




SILK CROP OF 1875 608 

INDEX.. 609 


Map of Dai Nippon (the Empire of Japan) faces page 17 

1. Nichiren and the H6J6 Executioner. (Humbert, from a temple painting) Frontispiece. 

1. High and Low Type of Face. (Hoknsai school) 30 

3. An Aino Chief from Yezo. (Photograph by Uchida) 32 

4. His Imperial Majesty, Mutsuhito. (Photograph by Uchida) 37 

6. Passage in the Inland Sea. (Alcock) 57 

6. Mikado's Method of Travel in very Ancient Times. (Native drawing) 62 

7. Imperial or Government Seal. (Native drawing) 66 

8. Imperial Crest, or Mikado's SeaL (Native drawing) 67 

9. Japan, as known to the Ancient Mikados. (From the series of historical maps in the 

"Nihon Riyaku Shi") 69 

10. Junk in the Bay of Yedo. (Native drawing) 71 

11. Her Imperial Majesty Haruko. (Photograph by Uchida) 81 

12. Shinto Wayside Shrine. (Alcock) 89 

13. The Peasant of To-day. (Hokusai) 91 

14. A Court Noble in Ancient Japan. (Native drawing) 93 

15. The Mikado on his Throne. (Native drawing) 102 

16. A Samurai in Winter Traveling-dress. (Alcock) 108 

17. A Japanese Farmer. (Hokusai) 107 

18. View in the Inland Sea. (Alcock) 118 

19. View near Hiogo. (Alcock) 120 

20. Tametomo defying the Taira Men. (Bank-note vignette) 121 

21. The Mountains and Lake of Hakone. (Alcock) 129 

22. War-junk of the Twelfth Century. (Bank-note vignette) 136 

23. Kojima writing on the Cherry-tree. (Bank-note vignette) 153 

24. Nitta Yoshisada casting the Sword into the Sea. (Bank-note vignette) 156. 

25. Kobe Daishi. (Photograph from a temple statue) 162 

26. The Mother's Memorial. (Nankoku f)zawa) 168 

27. Belfry of a Buddhist Temple. (Alcock, from a photograph) 172 

28. Repulse of the Mongol Tartars. (Native painter) 180 

29. Ashikaga Takauji. (Photograph from a temple statue) 186 

30. Temple-bell from Kioto. (Humbert) 200 

31. Chasing Floral Designs on Copper. (Humbert) 203 

32. Picnic Booth. (Humbert) 206 

33. Court Lady in Kioto. (Humbert) 209 

34. Kusunoki Masatsura. (Native drawing) 220 

35. The Challenge. (Hokusai) 223 

36. Archer on Castle Rampart. (Humbert) 226 

37. Symbols of the Carpenter's Guild. (Humbert) 227 

38. View of the Castle of Ozaka. (Alcock) 234 

39. Nobunaga's Victims : Priest and Monk. (Alcock) 236 

40. A Familiar Country Scene. (Hokusai school) 236 

41. Camp of Hideyoshi, before Fukui. (Humbert) 239 

42. Image of Deified Hero. (Native drawing) 241 

43. Ear Monument in Kioto. (Photograph) 246 

44. " The Tarpeian Rock of Japan." (Oliphant) 268 

45. Hollander on Deshima. (Alcock) 260 

46. Crest of the Tokugawa Family. (Native drawing) 271 


47. The Four Classes of Society. (Nankoku 5zawa) Page 281 

48. Fire-lookouts in Yedo. (Native drawing. " Brocade " style) 286 

49. Matsudaira Yoshinaga, ex-Daiunio of Echizen. (Photograph) 308 

60. Keiki, the last Shogun of Japan. (Photograph) 314 

51. Push-cart in Yokohama. (Hoknsai) 333 

52. The Jin-riki-sha, or " Pull-man Car " of Japan. (Photograph) 335 

53. Young Girl carrying her Baby Brother. (Alcock) 354 

54. Coolie waiting for a Job. (Alcock) 355 

55. Coopers Hooping a Vat. (Pupil of Hokusai) 357 

56. Crossing the Rokugo River. (Hokusai) 360 

57. Nitsuki, or Ivory Button. (Oliphant) 365 

68. Pattern Designer. (Hokusai) _. 365 

69. " Nihon Bashi " in Tokio. The Kosatsu. (Nankoku Ozawa) 368 

60. View of Fuji, from Suruga Dai. (Reduced " brocade " picture) 374 

61. Artist at Work. (Hokusai) 379 

62. Pagoda Spire, or Kiu-do. (" Brocade " picture) 381 

63. A Flower Fair at Night in Tokio. (Nankoku Ozawa) 386 

64. Sakurada Avenue and Easumiya Street. (" Brocade " picture) 395 

65. Travelers in a Snow-storm. Fuji San. (Native drawing) 404 

66. Buddhist Pilgrims. (Alcock) 407 

67. The Samisen. (Oliphant) 408 

68. Bringing Water to wash Travelers' Feet. (Hokusai) 416 

69. A Norimono. (Alcock) 417 

70. Village in Echizen. (Native drawing) , 421 

71. Fac-simile of Kinsatsu. Issue of 1869 425 

72. On the Tow-path. (Hokusai) 426 

73. A Little Daimio. (Photograph by Uchida) 429 

74. Servant before his Master. (Alcock) 430 

75. Student burning Midnight Oil. (Photograph) 432 

76. The Studious Gate-keeper. (Native drawing) 436 

77. The Wedding Party. (Alcock, from native painting) 438 

78. Boys playing on Bamboo Bars. (Hokusai) 441 

79. The Grip of Victory. (Hokusai [?]) 442 

80. Gonji in a Brown Study. (Alcock) .445 

81. Night Scene on the River Flats. (Hokusai) : 447 

82. Father and Children. (Humbert) 450 

83. Children's Games and Sports. (Humbert) 453 

84. Boys' Games. (Humbert) 458 

86. Boys' Games. (Humbert) 459 

. 86. The Feast of Dolls. (Nankoku Ozawa) 462 

87. Children's Sports. (Humbert) 464 

88. The Jealous Avenger. (Nankoku Ozawa) 475 

89. The Rain Dragon. (Kamo) 479 

90. Futen, the Wind-imp. (Native drawing) 483 

91. Raiden, the Thunder-drummer. (Native drawing) 484 

92. Tengu going on a Picnic. (Hokusai) 487 

93. Grandmother telling Stories. (Nankoku Ozawa) 490 

94. Pipe, Pipe-case, and Tobacco-pouch. (Oliphant) 500 

95. What follows a Meal on Horse-flesh. (Alcock) 517 

96. Kioto Fan-makers. (Humbert) 519 

97. Seven-stroke Sketch of Wild Horse." (Kamo) 522 

98. Whispering behind the Screen. (Hokusai school) 524 

99. Samurai, in Kami-shimo Dress. (Alcock) 525 

100. The Siesta. (Hokusai) 628 

101. The Game of Dakiu, or " Polo." (Alcock, from native drawing) 530 

102. Rope-dikes, or " Snake-baskets." (Alcock) 531 

103. My House in Fukui. (From a photograph) 532 

104. Wild Goose in Flight. (Native drawing) . 537 

105. How we rode to Odani. (Alcock) ... 544 

106. Japanese Naval Officer. (Photograph) 564 

107. Japanese Steam Corvette Tsukuba Kan. (Photograph) 564 

108. Court Scene. Old Style. (Humbert) 569 





IT is impossible to represent Japanese words exactly by any foreign alphabet; 
but a knowledge of the sounds as heard in Japan, and the use of vocables which 
have each one invariable value, will enable a foreigner to reproduce Japanese 
names with tolerable accuracy. When the native authors and grammarians do 
not agree, absolute unanimity among foreign scholars is not to be expected ; but 
palpable absurdities, impossible combinations of letters, and mistakes arising out 
of pure ignorance of the language may be avoided. The system given below, and 
used throughout this work, is, at least, rational, and is based on the structure and 
laws of combination in the language itself. This system is substantially (the dif- 
ferences aiming to secure greater simplicity) that of Hepburn's Japanese-English 
and English-Japanese, and of Satow's English-Japanese dictionary ; the Roman- 
ized version of the Scriptures, published by the American Bible Society ; of the 
"American Cyclopaedia;" the revised editions of Worcester's, and Webster's, dic- 
tionary ; in Brown's, Aston' s, Satow's, Brinckley's, and Hepburn's grammar and 
works on the Japanese language ; Monteith's, Mitchell's, Cornell's, Warren's, 
and Harper's (American), and the Student's (English) geography and atlas ; 
Mitford's " Tales of Old Japan ;" Adams's " History of Japan ;" the official docu- 
ments of the Japanese Government, Department of Education, schools, and col- 
leges ; the British and American Legations and Consulates ; the Anglo-Japanese 
press, and almost all scholars and writers who make accuracy a matter of con- 

The standard language (not the local dialect) of Tokio now the literary as 
well as the political capital of the nation is taken as the basis, and the words 
are then transliterated from the katagana spelling, as given by the best native 
scholars. The vowels are sounded as follows : 

a has the sound of a in father, arm ; 
of has the sound of of in aisle, or f in bite ; 
f has the sound of f in pique, machine ; 
u has the sound of u in rale, or oo in boot ; 

ita has the sound of ua in quarantine ; 
e has the sound of e in prey, they ; 
ei has the sound of ef in deign, feign ; 
o has the sound of o in bore, so. 

Long vowels are marked thus, 6, u ; short vowels, u, i. 

The combination uai is sounded as wai; iu as yu; E or ^, as e in prey ; but e, 
as in men; g is always hard, and * soft, as in sit, sap. 

C before a vowel, g soft ; I, q, s surd ; x, and the digraphs ph and th, are 
not used. 

The map facing page 17 is reduced, and the names transliterated from the 
large copper-plate map of the empire compiled and published by the Japanese 
War Department in 1872. The numerals refer to the provinces on page 601. 

Dai Nippon (the Empire of Japan). 




IT is manifest that to understand a people and their national life, 
the physical conditions under which they live must be known. To 
enjoy the picture, we must study the background. 

Dai Nippon, as the natives call their beautiful land, occupies a sig- 
nificant position on the globe. Lying in the Pacific Ocean, in the 
temperate zone, it bends like a crescent off the continent of Asia. 
In the extreme north, at the island of Saghalin, the distance from 
the main-land of Asia is so slight that the straits may be crossed eas- 
ily in a canoe. From Kiushiu, with the island of Tsushima lying be- 
tween, the distance from Corea is but one day's sail in a junk. For 
4000 miles eastward from the main island stretches the Pacific, shored 
in by the continent of America. From Yezo to Kamtchatka, the Ku- 
riles stretch like the ruins of a causeway, prolonged by the Aleutian 
Islands, to Alaska. The configuration of the land is that resulting 
from the combined effects of volcanic action and the incessant mo- 
tion of the corroding waves. The area of the empire is nearly equal 
to that of our Middle and New England States. Of the 150,000 
square miles of surface, two-thirds consist of mountain land. The 
island of Saghalin (ceded to Russia in May, 1875) is one mountain 
chain ; that of Yezo one mountain mass. On the main island,* a 
solid backbone of mountainous elevations runs continuously from 

* Dai Nippon, or Ninon, means Great Japan, and is the name of the entire em- 
pire, not of the main island. The foreign writers on Japan have almost unani- 
mously blundered in calling the largest island " Niphon." Hondo is the name 
given to the main island in the Military Geography of Japan (Heiyo Nippon Chiri 
Yoshi, Tokio, 1872) published by the War Department, and which is used in this 
work throughout. 


Kikuoku to Shinano, whence it branches off into subordinate chains 
that are prolonged irregularly to Nagato and into Kiushiu and Shiko- 
ku. Speaking generally, the heights of the mountains gradually in- 
crease from the extremities to the centre. In Saghalin, they are low ; 
in Yezo, they are higher : increasing gradually on the north of the 
main island, they culminate in the centre in the lofty ranges of Shi- 
nano, and the peaks of Nantaizan, Yatsugadake, Hakuzan (nine thou- 
sand feet high), and Fuji, whose summit is over twelve thousand feet 
above the sea. Thence toward the south they gradually decrease in 
height. There are few high mountains along the sea-coast. The 
land slopes up gradually into hills, thence into lesser peaks, and final- 
ly into lofty ranges. 

As Fuji, with his tall satellites, sweeps up from the land, so Japan 
itself rises up, peak-like, from the sea. From the shores the land 
plunges abruptly down into deep water. Japan is but an emerged 
crest of a submarine mountain perhaps the edge of hard rock left 
by the submergence of the earth-crust which now floors the Sea of 
Japan and the Gulf of Tartary. There seems little reason to doubt 
that Saghalin, Yezo, Hondo, and Kiushiu were in geologic ages united 
together, forming one island. Surrounded on all sides by swift and 
variable currents, the islands everywhere on the sea -borders exhibit 
the effect of their action. At most points the continual detritus is 
such as to seriously encroach on the land area, and the belief holds 
among certain native sea -coast dwellers, strengthened by the tradi- 
tional tales of past ravages, that in process of time the entire country, 
devoured by successive gnawings of the ocean, will finally sink into 
its insatiable maw. 

The geological formations of the country the natural foundations 
are not as yet accurately determined. Enough, however, is known 
to give us a fair outline of fact, which future research and a thorough 
survey must fill up.* Of the soil, more is known. 

* Baron Richthofen, in a paper read before the Geological Society of Berlin, 
June 4th, 1873, thus generalizes the geology of Japan : The west and east por- 
tion of the aggregate body of the Japanese islands is in every way the direct con- 
tinuation of the mountain system which occupies the south-eastern portion of 
China, the axial chain of which extends from the f rentier of An nam to the island 
of Chusan, in the direction of W. 30 S., E. 30 N. It is accompanied on either 
side by a number of parallel chains. The prolongation of this group of linear 
chains passes through the island of Kiushiu to the great bend of Japan (Suruga 
and Shinano). Through Kiushiu and the southern part of the main island, the 
structure of the hills and the rocks of which they are made up (chiefly Silurian 


Even in a natural state, without artificial fertilization, most of the 
tillable land produces good crops of grain or vegetables. On myriads 

and Devonian strata, accompanied by granite) and the lines of strike are the 
same as those observed in South-eastern China. This system is intersected at 
either end by another, which runs S.S. W., N.N.E. On the west it commences in 
Kiushiu, and extends southward in the direction of the Liu Kiu Islands, while on 
the east it constitutes the northern branch of the main island, and, with a slight 
deviation in its course, continues through the islands of Yezo and Saghalin. A 
third system, which properly does not belong to Japan, is indicated by the S.W. 
and N.E. line of the Kuriles. 

The above outline throws light on the distribution of volcanoes. The first 
system, where it occupies the breadth of the country for itself alone, is as free 
from volcanoes, or any accumulation of volcanic rocks, as it is in South-eastern 
China. The second system is accompanied by volcanoes. But the greatest ac- 
cumulation of volcanic rocks, as well as of the extinct volcanoes, is found in the 
places of interference, or those regions where the lines of the two systems cross 
each other, and, besides, in that region where the third system branches off from 
the second. To the same three regions the volcanoes which have been active in 
historic times have been confined. 

In the geological structure of Kinshiu, the longer axis is from N. to S., but in- 
tersected by several solid bars made up of very ancient rocks, and following the 
strike of W. 80 S., E. 30 N. They form high mountain barriers, the most cen- 
tral of which, south of the provinces of Higo and Bungo, rises to over seven 
thousand feet, and is extremely wild and rugged. In Satsuma, the various fam- 
ilies of volcanic rocks have arrived at the surface in exactly the same order of 
succession as in the case of Hungary, Mexico, and many other volcanic regions, 
viz., first, propylite, or trachytic greenstone; second, andesite; third, trachyte 
and rhyolite ; fourth, the basaltic rocks. The third group was not visited by 
him. Thomas Antisell, M.D., and Professor Benjamin J. Lyman, M.E., and Hen- 
ry S. Munroe, M.E., American geologists in Yezo, have also elucidated this inter- 
esting problem. From the first I quote. The mountain systems of Yezo and 
farther north are similar to those in the northern part of the main island. There 
are in Yezo two distinct systems of mountains. One, coming down directly from 
the north, is a continuation of the chain in Karafto (Saghalin), which, after pass- 
ing down south along the west shore of Yezo, is found in Rihuoku, Ugo, Uzen, 
and farther south. The second enters Yezo from the Kuriles Islands and Kamt- 
chatka, running N. 20-25 E. and S. 20-25 W., and crossing in places the first sys- 
tem. It is from the existence and crossing of these chains that Yezo derives its 
triangular form. The two systems possess very different mineral contents for 
their axes. The first has an essentially granitic and feldspathic axis, produced, 
perhaps, by shrinkage, and is slow of decomposition of its minerals forming 
the soils. The second has an axis, plutonic or volcanic, yielding basalts, traps, 
and diorites, decomposing readily, producing deep and rich soils. Hence the 
different kinds of vegetation on the two chains. Where the two chains cross, 
also, there is found a form of country closed up in the north and east by hills, the 
valleys opening to the south and west. This volcanic chain is secondary in the 
main island of Japan ; but in Yezo and in Kiushiu it attains great prominence. 

Professor Benjamin S. Lyman, an American geologist, has also made valuable 
surveys and explorations in Yezo, the results of which are given in the " Reports 
of Horace Capron and his Foreign Assistants," Tokio, 1875. 


of rice-fields, which have yielded richly for ages, the fertility is easily 
maintained by irrigation and the ordinary application of manure, the na- 
tives being proficient in both these branches of practical husbandry. 

The rivers on such narrow islands, where steep mountains and 
sharply excavated valleys predominate, are of necessity mainly useless 
for navigation. Ordinarily they are little more than brooks that flow 
lazily in narrow and shallow channels to the sea. After a storm, in 
rainy weather, or in winter, they become swollen torrents, often miles 
wide, sweeping resistlessly over large tracts of land which they keep 
perpetually desolate wildernesses of stones and gravel, where fruitful 
fields ought to be. The area of land kept permanently waste in Ja- 
pan on this account is enormous. The traveler, who to-day crosses a 
clear brook on a plank, may to-morrow be terrified at a roaring flood 
of muddy water in which neither man, beast, nor boat can live a mo- 
ment. There are, however, some large plains, and in those we must 
look to find the navigable rivers. In the mountains of Shinano and 
Kodzuke are found the sources of most of the streams useful for nav- 
igation on the main island. On the plains of the Kuanto (from Suru- 
ga to Iwaki), Oshiu (Rikuchiu and Rikuzen), Mino, and Echigo, are a 
few rivers on which one may travel in boats hundreds of miles. One 
may go by water from Tokio to Niigata by making a few portages, and 
from Ozaka to the end of Lake Biwa by natural water. In the north- 
ern part of Hondo are several long rivers, notably the Kitagami and 
Sakata. In Yezo is the Ishikari. In Shikoku are several fine streams, 
which are large for the size of the islands. Kiushiu has but one or 
two of any importance. Almost every one of these rivers abounds in 
fish, affording, with the surrounding ocean, an inexhaustible and easily 
attainable supply of food of the best quality. Before their history 
began, the aboriginal islanders made this brain-nourishing food their 
chief diet, and through the recorded centuries to the quick-witted Jap- 
anese proper it has been the daily meat. 

In the geologic ages volcanic action must have been extremely vio- 
lent, as in historic time it has been almost continual. Hundreds, at 
least, of mountains, now quiet, were once blazing furnaces. The ever- 
greenery that decks them to-day reminds one of the ivy that mantles 
the ruins, or the flowers that overgrow the neglected cannon on the bat- 
tle-field. Even within the memory of men now living have the most 
awful and deadly exhibitions of volcanic desolation been witnessed. 
The annals of Japan are replete with the records of these flame-and- 
lava-vomiting mountains, and the most harrowing tales of human life 


destroyed and human industry overwhelmed are truthfully portrayed 
by the pencil of the artist and the pen of the historian in the native 
literature. Even now the Japanese count over twenty active and hun- 
dreds of dormant volcanoes. As late as 1874, the volcano of Taromai, 
in Yezo, whose crater had long since congealed, leaving only a few 
puffing solfataras, exploded, blowing its rocky cap far up into the air, 
and scattering a rain of ashes as far as the sea-shore, many miles dis- 
tant. Even the nearly perfect cone of Shiribeshi, in Yezo, is but one 
of many of nature's colossal ruins. Asama yama, never quiet, puffs 
off continual jets of steam, and at this moment of writing is groan- 
ing and quaking, to the terror of the people around it. Even the 
superb Fuji, that sits in lordly repose and looks down over the lesser 
peaks in thirteen provinces, owes its matchless form to volcanic ac- 
tion, being clothed by a garment of lava on a throne of granite. Ha- 
kuzan, on the west coast, which uprears its form above the clouds, 
nine thousand feet from the sea-level, and holds a lakelet of purest 
water in its bosom, once in fire and smoke belched out rocks and ul- 
cered its crater jaws with floods of white and black lava. Not a few 
of these smoking furnaces by day are burning lamps by night to the 
mariner. Besides the masses and fields of scoria one everywhere 
meets, other evidences of the fierce unrest of the past are noticed. 
Beds of sulphur abound. Satsuma, Liu Kiu, and Yezo are noted for 
the large amount they easily produce. From the sides of Hakuzan 
huge crystals of sulphur are dug. Solfataras exist in active operation 
in many places. Sulphur-springs may be found in almost every prov- 
ince. Hot-springs abound, many of them highly impregnated with 
mineral salts, and famous for their geyser-like rhythm of ebb and flow. 
In Shinano and Echigo the people cook their food, and the farmer 
may work in his fields by night, lighted by the inflammable gas which 
issues from the ground, and is led through bamboo tubes. 

Connected with volcanic are the seismic phenomena. The records 
of Japan from the earliest time make frequent mention of these devas- 
tating and terrifying visitations of subterranean disorder. Not only 
have villages, towns, and cities been shaken down or ingulfed, but in 
many neighborhoods tradition tells of mountains that have disap- 
peared utterly, or been leveled to earth. The local histories, so nu- 
merous in Japan, relate many such instances, and numerous gullies 
and depressions produced by the opening and partial closure of the 
earth-lips are pointed out. One, in the province of Echizen, is over a 
mile long, and resembles a great trench. 


In addition to a good soil, Japan has been generously endowed by 
the Creator with mineral riches. Most of the useful varieties of stone 
are found throughout the empire. Granite and the harder rocks, 
through various degrees of softness, down to the easily carved or 
chipped sandstones and secondary formations useful for fortifications, 
buildings, tombs, walks, or walls, exist in almost every province. 

Almost all the useful metals long known to man are found in this 
island empire. Gold and silver in workable quantities are found in 
many places. The island of Sado is a mass of gold-bearing quartz. 
Copper is very abundant, and of the purest kind. Lead, tin, antimo- 
ny, and manganese abound. Of zinc and mercury there is but little. 
Iron is chiefly in the form of magnetic oxide. It occurs in the dilu- 
vium of rivers and along the sea-coast, lying in beds, often of great 
thickness. The first quality of iron may be extracted from it. Iron- 
stone and many other varieties of ore are also found. Petroleum 
issues from the ground in Echigo, Suruga, Echizen, Yezo, and in Sag- 
halin ; the ocean at some portions on the coast of the latter is said 
to be smeared with a floating scum of oil for miles. 

The botanical wealth of Japan is very great. A considerable num- 
ber of vegetable species have doubtless been introduced by human 
agency into Japan from the Asiatic continent, but the indigenous 
plants and those imported by natural means are very numerous. 

The timber of the main island, Kiushiu, and Shikoku is superb in 
appearance and growth, of great variety, beauty, and adaptability to 
the uses of man. Yezo is one vast boom and lumber yard. Thirty- 
six varieties of useful timber-trees, including true oak, are found there. 
The Kuriles also afford rich supplies, and are capable of becoming to 
the empire proper what forest-clad Norway is to England. Yamato, 
on the main-land, is also famous for its forests, ranging from tallest 
evergreen trees of great size, fineness of grain, and strength of fibre, to 
the soft and easily whittled pines ; but the incessant demands for fir- 
ing and carpentry make devastating inroads on the growing timber. 
Split wood for cooking, and charcoal for warmth, necessitate the sys- 
tem of forestry long in vogue in some parts of the empire requiring a 
tree to be planted for every one cut down ; and nurseries of young 
forest trees are regularly set out, though the custom is not universal. 
Most of the trees and many of the plants are evergreen, thus keeping 
the islands clothed in perpetual verdure, and reducing the visual dif- 
ference between winter and summer, in the southern half of Hondo, at 
least, to a nearly tropical minimum. 


The various varieties of bamboo, graceful in appearance, and by its 
strength, symmetry, hollowness, and regularity of cleavage, adapted 
to an almost endless variety of uses, are almost omnipresent, from the 
scrub undergrowth in Yezo to that cultivated in luxuriant groves in 
Satsuma so as to be almost colossal in proportion. There is, how- 
ever, as compared with our own country, a deficiency of fruit-trees 
and edible vegetables. The first use of most of the bread grains 
and plants is historic. In very ancient times it is nearly certain 
that the soil produced very little that could be used for food, except 
roots, nuts, and berries. This is shown both by tradition and history, 
and also by the fact that the names of vegetables in Japan are mostly 

The geographical position of the Japanese chain would lead us to 
expect a flora American, Asiatic, and semi-tropical in its character. 
The rapid variations of temperature, heavy and continuous rains, suc- 
ceeded by scorching heats and the glare of an almost tropical sun, are 
accompanied and tempered by strong and constant winds. Hence we 
find semi-tropical vegetable forms in close contact with Northern tem- 
perate types. In general the predominant nature of the Japan flora 
is shrubby rather than herbaceous.* 

The geographical position of Japan hardly explains the marked re- 
semblance of its flora to that of Atlantic America,f on the one hand, 
and that of the Himalaya region, on the other. Such, however, is the 

* In the " Enumeratio Plantarum," which treats of all the known exogens and 
conifers in Japan, 1699 species are enumerated, distributed in 643 genera, which 
are collocated in 122 orders. In other words, an imperfect botanical survey of 
the Nippon chain of islands shows that in it are represented nearly half the nat- 
ural orders, ten per cent, of the genera, and nearly three per cent, of the species 
of dicotyledons known to exist on the surface of the globe. Future research 
must largely increase the number of species. 

t Very large and splendidly illustrated works on botany exist in the Japanese 
language. The native botanists classify according to the Linnaean system. In 
their "Enuraeratio Plantarum" (Paris, 1874), Drs. A. Franchet and L. Savatier 
have given a re'sumJ of all the known dicotyledonous plants in Japan. It is a work 
of great research and conscientious accuracy. I have seen excellent and volumi- 
nous native works, richly illustrated, on ichthyology, conchology, zoology, en- 
tomology, reptilology, and mineralogy. Some of these works are in ninety vol- 
umes each. Ten thousand dollars were spent by a wealthy scholar in Mino in 
the publication of one of them. They would not satisfy the requirements of the 
exact science of this decade, but they constitute an invaluable thesaurus to the 
botanical investigator. I am indebted for most of the information concerning 
the Japanese flora to a paper in the Japan Mail of September 25th, 1875, from 
the pen of a competent reviewer of Dr. Savatier's great work. 


fact : the Japanese flora resembles that of Eastern North America 
more than that of Western North America or Europe.* 

The fauna of the island is a very meagre one, and it is also quite 
probable that the larger domestic animals have been imported. Of 
wild beasts, the bear, deer, wolf, badger, fox, and monkey, and the 
smaller ground animals, are most probably indigenous. So far as 
studied, however, the types approach those of the remote American 
rather than those of the near Asiatic continent. 

It is most probable, and nearly certain, that prehistoric Japan did 
not possess the cow, horse, sheep, or goat. Even in modern Japan, 
the poverty of the fauna strikes the traveler with surprise. The birds 
are mostly those of prey. Eagles and hawks are abundant. The 
crows, with none to molest their ancient multitudinous reign, are now, 
as always in the past, innumerable. The twittering of a noticeably 
small number of the smaller birds is occasionally heard ; but bird-song 
seems to have been omitted from the catalogue of natural glories of 
this island empire. Two birds, the stork and heron, now, as ancient- 
ly, tread the fields in stately beauty, or strike admiration in the be- 
holder as they sail in perfect grace in mid-air. The wild ducks and 
geese in flocks have, from time immemorial, summered in Yezo and 
wintered in Hondo. 

The domestic fowls consist almost entirely of ducks and chickens. 
The others have, doubtless, been imported. Of sea-birds there are le- 
gions on the uninhabited coasts, and from the rocks the fishermen 
gather harvests of eggs. 

Surrounding their land is the great reservoir of food, the ocean. 
The seas of Japan are probably unexcelled in the world for the mul- 
titude and variety of the choicest species of edible fish. The many 
bays and gulfs indenting the islands have been for ages the happy 
hunting-grounds of the fisherman. The rivers are well stocked with 

* The results of Dr. Asa Gray's investigations of the herbarium brought to the 
United States by the Perry expedition are summed up as follows : 
43 per cent, had corresponding European representatives, 
37 " " " " Western North American representatives, 

61 " " " " Eastern North American representatives ; 


27 per cent, were identical with European species, 

20 " " " " " Western North American species, 

23 " " " " " Eastern North American species. 

"Dr. Gray's report was drawn up in 1858, when Japanese botany was little 
known, and considerable alteration might be made in his figures; but there can 
be little doubt that the general result would be the same." 


many varieties of fresh-water fish. In Yezo the finest salmon exist in 
inexhaustible supply, while almost every species of edible shell-fish, 
mollusca and Crustacea, enlivens the shores of the islands, or fertilizes 
the soil with its catacombs. So abundant is fish that fish-manure is 
an article of standard manufacture, sale, and use. The variety and 
luxuriance of edible sea-weed are remarkable. 

The aspects of nature in Japan, as in most volcanic countries, com- 
prise a variety of savage hideousness, appalling destructiveness, and 
almost heavenly beauty. From the mountains burst volcanic erup- 
tions; from the land come tremblings; from the ocean rises the 
tidal wave ; over it blows the cyclone. Floods of rain in summer 
and autumn give rise to inundations and land-slides. During three 
months of the year the inevitable, dreaded typhoon may be expected, 
as the invisible agent of hideous ruin. Along the coast the winds 
and currents are very variable. Sunken and emerging rocks line the 
shore. All these make the dark side of nature to cloud the imagina- 
tion of man, and to create the nightmare of superstition. But Nat- 
ure's glory outshines her temporary gloom, and in presence of her 
cheering smiles the past terrors are soon forgotten. The pomp of 
vegetation, the splendor of the landscape, and the heavenly gentleness 
of air and climate come to soothe and make vivacious the spirits of 
man. The seasons come and go with well-nigh perfect regularity; 
the climate at times reaches the perfection of that in a temperate zone 
not too sultry in summer, nor raw in winter. A majority of the 
inhabitants rarely see ice over an inch thick, or snow more than twen- 
ty-four hours old. The average lowest point in cold weather is prob- 
ably 20 Fahrenheit.* 

The surrounding ocean and the variable winds temper the climate 
in summer ; the Euro Shiwo, the Gulf Stream of the Pacific, modifies 
the cold of winter. A sky such as ever arches over the Mediterra- 
nean bends above Japan, the ocean walls her in, and ever green and fer- 
tile land is hers. With healthful air, fertile soil, temperate climate, a 
land of mountains and valleys, with a coast -line indented with bays 
and harbors, food in plenty, a country resplendent with natural beau- 
ty, but liable at any moment to awful desolation and hideous ruin, 
what influences had Nature in forming the physique and character of 
the people who inhabit Japan ? 

* For statistics relating to nearly all the subjects treated of in this chapter, see 
appendices at the end of this volume. 




IN seeking the origin of the Japanese people, we must take into 
consideration the geographical position of their island chain, with ref- 
erence to its proximity to the main-land, and its situation in the ocean 
currents. Japanese traditions and history may have much to tell us 
concerning the present people of Japan whether they are exclusively 
an indigenous race, or the composite of several ethnic stocks. From 
a study, however imperfect, of the language, physiognomy, and bodily 
characteristics, survivals of ancient culture, historic geology, and the 
relics of man's struggle with nature in the early ages, and of the act- 
ual varieties of mankind now included within the mikado's domin- 
ions,! we may learn much of the ancestors of the present Japanese. 

The horns of the crescent -shaped chain of Dai Nippon approach 
the Asiatic continent at the southern end of Corea and at Siberia. 
Nearly the whole of Saghalin is within easy reach of the continent 
by canoe. At the point called Norato, a little north of the fifty-sec- 
ond parallel, the opposite shore, but five miles distant, is easily seen. 
The water is here so shallow that junks can not cross it at low tide. 
After long prevalent favorable winds, the ground is left dry, and the 

* I use the term "aborigines" for the sake of convenience, being by no means 
absolutely sure that those I so designate were the first people in situ. It has 
been conjectured and held by some native scholars that there was in Japan a pre- 
Aino civilization ; though of this there is scarcely a shadow of proof, as there is 
proof for an ancient Malay civilization higher than the present condition of the 
Malays. By the term "aborigines" I mean the people found on the soil at the 
dawn of history. 

t In compiling this chapter I have used, in addition to my own material and 
that derived from Japanese books, students, and residents in Yezo, the careful 
notes of the English travelers, Captains Bridgeford and Blakiston, and Mr. Ernest 
Satow, and the reports and verbal accounts of the American engineers and geolo- 
gists in the service of the Kai Taku Shi (Department for the Development of 
Yezo), organized in 1869 by the Imperial Government of Japan. Of these latter, 
I am especially indebted to Professors B. 8. Lyman, Henry S. Munroe, and Thomas 
Antisell, M.D. 


natives can walk dry-shod into Asia. During three or four months 
in the year it is frozen over, so that, with dog-teams or on foot, com- 
munication is often a matter of a single hour. In Japanese atlases, 
on the map of Karafto, a sand -bank covered by very shallow water 
is figured as occupying the space between the island and the conti- 
nent. A people even without canoes might make this place a gate 
of entrance into Saghalin. The people thus entering Japan from the 
north would have the attraction of richer supplies of food and more 
genial climate to tempt^ them southward. As matter of fact, com- 
munication is continually taking place between the Asiatic main-land 
and Saghalin. 

Japan occupies a striking position in the ocean currents which flow 
up from the Indian Ocean and the Malay peninsula. That branch of 
the great equatorial current of the Pacific, called the Kuro Shiwo, or 
Black Stream, on account of its color, flows up in a westerly direction 
past Luzon, Formosa, and the Liu Kiu Islands, striking the south point 
of Kiushiu, and sometimes, in summer, sending a branch up the Sea of 
Japan. With great velocity it scours the east coast of Kiushiu, the 
south of Shikoku ; thence, with diminished rapidity, enveloping both 
the group of islands south of the Bay of Yedo and Oshima ; and, at 
a point a little north of the latitude of Tokio, it leaves the coast of Ja- 
pan, and flows north-east toward the shores of America. With the 
variable winds, cyclones, and sudden and violent storms continually 
arising, for which the coasts of Eastern Asia are notorious, it is easily 
seen that the drifting northward from the Malay Archipelago of boats 
and men, and sowing of the shores of Kiushiu, Shikoku, and the west- 
ern shores of Hondo with people from the south and west, must have 
been a regular and continuous process. This is shown to be the fact 
in Japanese history, in both ancient and modern times, and is taking 
place nearly every year of the present century. 

It seems most probable that the savages descended from the north, 
tempted south by richer fisheries and a warmer climate, or urged on 
by successive immigrations from the continent. There is abundant 
evidence from Japanese history of the habitation of the main island 
by the Ainos, the savages whose descendants now occupy Yezo. Shi- 
koku and Kiushiu were evidently peopled by mixed races, sprung of 
the waifs from the various shores of Southern Asia. When the con- 
querors landed in Kiushiu, or, in sacred Japanese phrase, "when our 
divine ancestors descended from heaven to the earth," they found the 
land peopled by savages, under tribal organizations, living in villages, 


each governed by a head-man. Conquering first the aborigines of 
Kiushiu and Shikoku, they advanced into the main island, fought and 
tranquilized the Ainos, then called Ebisu, or barbarians, and fixed their 
capital not far from Kioto. The Ainos were not subjugated in a 
day, however, and continual military operations were necessary to keep 
them quiet. Only after centuries of fighting were they thoroughly 
subdued and tranquilized. The traveler to-day in the northern part 
of the main island may see the barrows of the Ainos' bones slain by 
Japanese armies more than a millennium ago. One of these mounds, 
near Morioka, in Rikuchiu, very large, and named " Yezo mori " (Aino 
mound), is especially famous, containing the bones of the aborigines 
slaughtered, heaps upon heaps, by the Japanese shogun (general), Ta- 
mura, who was noted for being six feet high, and for his many bloody 
victories over the Ebisu. 

For centuries more, the distinction between conquerors and con- 
quered, as between Saxon and Norman in England, was kept up ; but 
at length the fusion of races was complete, and the homogeneous Jap- 
anese people is the result. The remnants of Ainos in Yezo, shut off 
by the straits of Tsugaru from Hondo, have preserved the aboriginal 
blood in purity. 

The traditional origin of the Ainos, said to be given by them- 
selves, though I suspect the story to be an invention of the conquer- 
ors, or of the Japanese, is as follows: A certain prince, named 
Kamui, in one of the kingdoms in Asia, had three daughters. One 
of them having become the object of the incestuous passion of her 
father, by which her body became covered with hair, quit his palace 
in the middle of the night, and fled to the sea-shore. There she found 
a deserted canoe, on board which was only a large dog. The young 
girl resolutely embarked with her only companion to journey to some 
place in the East. After many months of travel, the young princess 
reached an uninhabited place in the mountains, and there gave birth 
to two children, a boy and a girl. These were the ancestors of the 
Aino race. Their offspring in turn married, some among each other, 
others with the bears of the mountains. The fruits of this latter un- 
ion were men of extraordinary valor, and nimble hunters, who, after 
a long life spent in the vicinity of their birth, departed to the far 
north, where they still live on the high and inaccessible table-lands 
above the mountains ; and, being immortal, they direct, by their mag- 
ical influences, the actions and the destiny of men, that is, the Ainos. 

The term "Aino " is a comparatively moaern epithet, applied by the 


Japanese. Its derivation, as given by several eminent native scholars 
whom I have consulted, is from inu, a dog. Others assert that it is 
an abbreviation of ai no ko, " offspring of the middle ;" that is, a 
breed between man and beast. Or, if the Japanese were believers in 
a theory called of late years the " Darwinian," an idea by no means 
unknown in their speculations, the Ainos would constitute the " miss- 
ing link," or "intermediate" between man and the brutes. In the 
ancient Japanese literature, and until probably the twelfth century, 
the Ainos were called Ebisu, or savages. 

The proofs from language of the Aino ancestry of the Japanese are 
very strong. So far as studied, the Aino tongue and the Altai dia- 
lects are said to be very similar. The Aino and Japanese languages 
differ no more than certain Chinese dialects do from each other. 
Ainos and Japanese have little difficulty in learning to speak the lan- 
guage of each other. The most ancient specimens of the Japanese 
tongue are found to show as great a likenesss to the Aino as to mod- 
ern Japanese. 

Further proofs of the general habitation of Hondo by the Ainos 
appear in the geographical names which linger upon the mountains 
and rivers. These names, musical in sound, and possessing, in their 
significance, a rude grandeur, have embalmed the life of a past race, 
as the sweet names of " Juniata" and "Delaware," or the sonorous 
onomatopes of " Niagara," " Katahdin," and " Tuscarora " echo the 
ancient glories of the well-nigh extinct aborigines of America, who in- 
deed may be brethren of the Ainos. These names abounding in the 
north, especially in the provinces north of the thirty-eighth parallel, 
are rare in the south, and in most cases have lost their exact ancient 
pronunciation by being for centuries spoken by Japanese tongues. 

The evidences of an aboriginal race are still to be found in the rel- 
ics of the Stone Age in Japan. Flint, arrow and spear heads, ham- 
mers, chisels, scrapers, kitchen refuse, and various other trophies, are 
frequently excavated, or may be found in the museum or in homes of 
private persons. Though covered with the soil for centuries, they 
seem as though freshly brought from an Aino -hut in Yezo. In scores 
of striking instances, the very peculiar ideas, customs, and superstitions, 
of both Japanese and Aino, are the same, or but slightly modified. 

Amidst many variations, two distinctly marked types of features 
are found among the Japanese people. Among the upper classes, the 
fine, long, oval face, with prominent, well-chiseled features, deep-sunk- 
en eye-sockets, oblique eyes, long, drooping eyelids, elevated and arch- 


ed eyebrows, high and narrow forehead, rounded nose, bud-like mouth, 
pointed chin, small hands and feet, contrast strikingly with the round, 
flattened face, less oblique eyes almost level with the face, and straight 
noses, expanded and upturned at the roots. The former type prevails 
among the higher classes the nobility and gentry ; the latter, among 
the agricultural and laboring classes. The one is the Aino, or north- 
ern type ; the other, the southern, or Yamato type. In the accom- 

The High and the Low Type of the Japanese Face Aristocratic and Plebeian. (Lady 
and Maid-servant.) 

panying cut this difference is fairly shown in the strongly contrasting 
types of the Japanese lady and her servant, or child's nurse. The 
modern Ainos are found inhabiting the islands of Yezo, Saghalin, the 
Kuriles, and a few of the outlying islands. They number less than 
twenty thousand in all. 

As the Aino of to-day is and lives, so Japanese art and traditions 
depict him in the dawn of history : of low stature, thick - set, full- 
bearded, bushy hair of a true black, eyes set at nearly right angles 
with the nose, which is short and thick, and chipped at the end, mus- 
cular in frame and limbs, with big hands and feet. His language, re- 
ligion, dress, and general manner of life are the same as of old. He 
has no alphabet, no writing, no numbers above a thousand. His rice, 
tobacco, and pipe, cotton garments, and worship of Yoshitsun6, are of 
course later innovations steps in the scale of civilization. Since the 
Restoration of 1868, a number of Ainos of both sexes have been liv- 


ing in Tokio, under instruction of the Kai Takfl Shi (Department for 
the Colonization of Yezo). I have had frequent opportunities of study- 
ing their physical characteristics, language, and manners. 

Their dwellings in Yezo are made of poles covered over with thick 
straw mats, with thatched roofs, the windows and doors being holes 
covered with the same material. The earth beaten down hard forms 
the floor, on which a few coarse mattings or rough boards are laid. 
Many of the huts are divided into two apartments, separated by a 
mud and wattle partition. The fire-place, with its pot-hooks, occupies 
the centre. There being no chimney, the interior walls become thick- 
ly varnished with creosote, densely packed with flakes of carbon, or 
festooned with masses of soot. They are adorned with the imple- 
ments of the chase, and the skulls of animals taken in hunting. 
Scarcely any furniture except cooking-pots is visible. The empyreu- 
matical odor and the stench of fish do not conspire to make the visit 
to an Aino hut very pleasant. 

Raised benches along two walls of the hut afford a sleeping or 
lounging place, doubtless the original of the tokonoma of the modern 
Japanese houses. They sit, like the Japanese, on their heels. Their 
food is mainly fish and sea-weed, with rice, beans, sweet-potatoes, mil- 
let, and barley, which, in Southern Yezo, they cultivate in small plots. 
They obtain rice, tobacco, sake, or rice-beer, an exhilarating beverage 
which they crave as the Indians do " fire-water," and cotton clothing 
from their masters, the Japanese. The women weave a coarse, strong, 
and durable cloth, ornamented in various colors, and ropes from the 
barks of trees. They make excellent dug-out canoes from elm-trees. 
Their dress consists of an under, and an upper garment having tight 
sleeves and reaching to the knees, very much like that of the Japanese. 
The woman's dress is longer, and the sleeves wider. They wear, also, 
straw leggings and straw shoes. Their hair, which is astonishingly 
thick, is clipped short in front, and falls in masses down the back and 
sides to the shoulders. It is of a true black, whereas the hair of the 
Japanese, when freed from unguents, is of a dark or reddish brown, 
and I have seen distinctly red hair among the latter. The beard and 
mustaches of the Ainos are allowed to attain their fullest develop- 
ment, the former often reaching the length of twelve or fourteen inch- 
es. Hence, Ainos take kindly to the " hairy foreigners," Englishmen 
and Americans, whose bearded faces the normal Japanese despise, while 
to a Japanese child, as I found out in Fukui, a man with mustaches ap- 
pears to be only a dragon without wings or tail. Some, not all, of the 




older men, but very few of the younger, have their bodies and limbs 
covered with thick black hair, about an inch long. The term " hairy 
Kuriles," applied to them as a characteristic hairy race, is a mythical 
expression of book-makers, as the excessively hirsute covering supposed 
to be universal among the Ainos is not to be found by the investi- 
gator on the ground. Their 
skin is brown, their eyes are 
horizontal, and their noses 
low, with the lobes well 
rounded out. The women 
are of proportionate stature 
to the men, but, unlike them, 
are very ugly. I never met 
with a handsome Aino fe- 
male, though I have seen 
many of the Yezo women. 
Their mouths seem like those 
of ogres, and to stretch from 
ear to ear. This arises from 
the fact that they tattoo a 

An Aiuo Chief from Yezo. (From a photograph w id e band of dirty blue, like 
taken in TOkio, 18T2.) , , , , . , ^. . . 

the woad of the ancient Brit- 
ons, around their lips, to the extent of three-quarters of an inch, and 
still longer at the tapering extremities. The tattooing is so com- 
pletely done, that many persons mistake it for a daub of blue paint, 
like the artificial exaggeration of a circus clown's mouth. They in- 
crease their hideousness by joining their eyebrows over the nose by a 
fresh band of tattooing. This practice is resorted to in the case of 
married women and females who are of age, just as that of blacken- 
ing the teeth and shaving the eyebrows is among the Japanese. 

They are said to be faithful wives and laborious helpmates, their 
moral qualities compensating for their lack of physical charms. The 
women assist in hunting and fishing, often possessing equal skill with 
the men. They carry their babies pickapack, as the Japanese moth- 
ers, except that the strap passing under the child is put round the 
mother's forehead. Polygamy is permitted. 

Their weapons are of the rudest form. The three-pronged spear is 
used for the salmon. The single -bladed lance is for the bear, their 
most terrible enemy, which they regard with superstitious reverence. 
Their bows are simply peeled boughs, three feet long. The arrows 


are one foot shorter, and, like those used by the tribes on the coast of 
Siberia and in Formosa, have no feather on the shaft. Their pipes are 
of the same form as those so common in Japan and China ; and one 
obtained from an Aino came from Santan, a place in Amurland. 

The Ainos possess dogs, which they use in hunting, understand the 
use of charcoal and candles, make excellent baskets and wicker-work 
of many kinds; and some of their fine bark -cloth and ornamented 
weapons for their chiefs show a skill and taste that compare very fa- 
vorably with those exhibited by the North American Indians. Their 
oars, having handle* fixed crosswise, or sculls made in two pieces, are 
almost exactly like those of the Japanese. Their river-canoes are dug 
out of a log, usually elm. Two men will fashion one in five days. 
For the sea-coast, they use a frame of wood, lacing on the sides with 
bark fibre. They are skillful canoe-men, using either pole or paddle. 

The language of the Aino is rude and poor, but much like the Jap- 
anese. It resembles it so closely, allowing for the fact that it is utter- 
ly unpolished and undeveloped, that it seems highly probable it is the 
original of the present Japanese tongue. They have no written char- 
acter, no writing of any sort, no literature. A further study may pos- 
sibly reveal valuable traditions held among them, which at present 
they are not known by me to have. 

In character and morals, the Ainos are stupid, good-natured, brave, 
honest, faithful, peaceful, and gentle. The American and English trav- 
elers in Yezo agree in ascribing to them these qualities. Their meth- 
od of salutation is to raise the hands, with the palms upward, and 
stroke the beard. They understand the rudiments of politeness, as 
several of their verbal expressions and gestures indicate. 

Their religion consists in the worship of kami, or spirits. They do 
not appear to have any special minister of religion or sacred struct- 
ure.* They have festivals commemorative of certain events in the 

* Some visitors to the Aino villages in Yezo declare that they have noticed 
there the presence of the phallic shrines and symbols. It might be interesting 
if this assertion, and the worship of these symbols by the Ainos, were clearly 
proved. It would help to settle definitely the question of the origin in Japan of 
this oldest form of fetich worship, the evidences of which are found all over the 
Nippon island-chain, including Tezo. I have noticed the prevalence of these 
shrines and symbols especially in Eastern and Northern Japan, having counted 
as many as a dozen, and these by the roadside, in a trip to Nikko. The barren 
of both sexes worship them, or offer them ex voto. In Sagami, Kadzusa, and even 
in Tokio itself, they were visible as late as 1874, cut in stone and wood. Former- 
ly the toy-shops, porcelain-shops, and itinerant venders of many wares were well 
supplied with them, made of various materials; they were to be seen in the cor- 


past, and they worship the spirit of Yoshitsune, a Japanese hero, who 
is supposed to have lived among them in the twelfth century, and 
who taught them some of the arts of Japanese civilization. 

The outward symbols of their religion are sticks of wood two or 
three feet long, which they whittle all around toward the end into 
shavings, until the smooth wand contains a mass of pendent curls, as 
seen in the engraving, page 32. They insert several of these in the 
ground at certain places, which they hold sacred. The Ainos also 
deify mountains, the sea, which furnishes their daily food, bears, the 
forests, and other natural objects, which they believe to possess intel- 
ligence. These wands with the curled shavings are set up in every 
place of supposed danger or evil omen. The traveler in Yezo sees 
them on precipices, gorges of mountains, dangerous passes, and river> 

When descending the rapids of a river in Yezo, he will notice that 
his Aino boatmen from time to time will throw one of these wands 
into the river at every dangerous point or turning. The Ainos pray 
raising their hands above their heads. The Buddhist bonzes have in 
vain attempted to convert them to Buddhism. They have rude songs, 
which they chant to their kami, or gods, and to the deified sea, forest, 
mountains, and bears, especially at the close of the hunting and fish- 
ing season, in all affairs of great importance, and at the end of the 
year. The following is given as a specimen : 

" To the sea which nourishes us, to the forest that protects us, we 
present our grateful thanks. You are two mothers that nourish the 
same child ; do not be angry if we leave one to go to the other." 

" The Ainos will always be the pride of the forest and the sea." 

The inquirer into the origin of the Japanese must regret that as 
yet we know comparatively little of the Ainos and their language. 
Any opinion hazarded on the subject may be pronounced rash. Yet, 
after a study of all the obtainable facts, I believe they unmistakably 

nucopia-bannere at New-year's, paraded in the festivals, and at unexpected times 
and places disturbed the foreign spectator. It was like a glimpse of life in the 
antediluvian world, or of ancient India, whence doubtless they came, to see evi- 
dences of this once widely prevalent form of early religion. Buddhist priests 
whom I have consulted affirm, with some warmth, that they arose in the " wick- 
ed time of Ashikaga," though the majority of natives, learned and unlearned, say 
they are the relics of the ancient people, or aborigines. In 1872 the mikado's 
Government prohibited the sale or exposure of these emblems in any form or 
shape, together with the more artistic obscenities, pictures, books, carvings, and 
photographs, sent out from the studios of Paris and London. 


point to the Ainos as the primal ancestors of the Japanese ; that the 
mass of the Japanese people of to-day are substantially of Aino stock. 
An infusion of foreign blood, the long effects of the daily hot baths 
and the warm climate of Southern Japan, of Chinese civilization, of 
agricultural instead of the hunter's method of life, have wrought the 
change between the Aino and the Japanese. 

It seems equally certain that almost all that the Japanese possess 
which is not of Chinese, Corean, or Tartar origin has descended from 
the Aino, or has been developed or improved from an Aino model. 
The Ainos of Yezo hold politically the same relation to the Japanese 
as the North American Indians do to the white people of the United 
States ; but ethnically they are, with probability bordering very closely 
on certainty, as the Saxons to the English.* 

* I need scarcely, except to relieve, by borrowed humor, the dull weighing of 
facts, and the construction of an opinion void of all dogmatism, notice the as- 
sertion elaborated at length by some Americans, Scotchmen, and others too, 
for aught I know, that the Ainos are the "ten lost tribes of Israel," or that 
they are the descendants of the sailors and gold-hunters sent out by King Solo- 
mon to gain spoil for his temple at Jerusalem. Really, this search after the 
"lost tribes" or have they consolidated into the Wandering Jew ? is becoming 
absurd. They are the most discovered people known. They have been found in 
America, Britain, Persia, India, China, Japan, and in Tezo. I know of but one 
haystack left to find this needle in, and that is Corea. It will undoubtedly be 
found there. It has been kindly provided that there are more worlds for these 
Alexanders to conquer. It is now quite necessary for the archaeological respect- 
ability of a people that they be the " lost tribes." To the inventory of wonders 
in Japan some would add that of her containing " the dispersed among the Gen- 
tiles," notwithstanding that the same claim has been made for a dozen other 
nations. It might be well for the man who is searching anxiously for his spec- 
tacles to feel on the top of his head. If these would-be discoverers would dem- 
onstrate that the "ten tribes of Israel " were ever "lost," in the migratory or 
geographical sense, they might accomplish more satisfactory work than going 
up and down the world, ringing a bell for a people whose "loss" may be as 
imaginary as the spectacles on the pate aforesaid. For the benefit of such, I 
beg to append one of the Japanese " Tales for Little People :" 

Little Boy loq. " Old daddy, get me my kite, if you please." 

Old Man. " Oh, where is it, my boy ? Is that it in the tree opposite ?" 

Boy. "No; that is a fish-hawk." 

Old Man. " Surely, then, it must be there in the fire. Look out !" 

Boy. " No, daddy; that is a crow." 

Old Man. "Then, where can it be, I wonder?" 

Boy. " Why, daddy, it is there on your head caught in your hair." 

Old Man. " So It is, I declare. I thought it was a hawk that had caught me 
by the hair." 




BEFORE attempting a brief sketch of Japanese history, it may be 
interesting to the reader to know something of the sources of such 
history, and the character and amount of the materials. A dynasty 
of rulers who ostentatiously boast of twenty-five centuries of unbroken 
succession should have solid foundation of fact for their boast. The 
august representatives of the mikado Mutsuhito,* the one hundred 
and twenty-third of the imperial line of Dai Nippon, who, in the pres- 
ence of the President and Congress of the United States, and of the 
sovereigns of Europe, claimed the immemorial antiquity of the Jap- 
anese imperial rule, should have credentials to satisfy the foreigner 
and silence the skeptic. 

In this enlightened age, when all authority is challenged, and a cent- 
ury after the moss of oblivion has covered the historic grave of the 
doctrine of divine right, the Japanese still cling to the divinity of 
the mikado, not only making it the dogma of religion and the engine 
of government, but accrediting their envoys as representatives of, and 
asking of foreign diplomatists that they address his imperial Japanese 
majesty as the King of Heaven (Tenno). A nation that has passed 
through the successive stages of aboriginal migration, tribal govern- 
ment, conquest by invaders, pure monarchy, feudalism, anarchy, and 
modern consolidated empire, should have secreted the material for 
much interesting history. In the many lulls of peace, scholars would 
arise, and opportunities would offer, to record the history which pre- 
vious generations had made. The foreign historian who will bring the 

* Mutsuhito (" meek man"), the present emperor, is the second son of the 
mikado Komei (1847-1867), whom he succeeded, and the Empress Fujiwara 
Asako. He was born November 3d, 1850. He succeeded his father February 
3d, 1867; was crowned on the 28th day of the Eighth month, 1868; and was mar- 
ried on the 28th of the Twclth month, 1868, to Haruko, daughter of Ichijo Tadaka, 
a noble of the second degree of the first rank. She was born on the 17th of the 
Fourth month, 1850. The dowager-empress Asako, mother of the emperor, is 
of the house of Kujo, and was born on the 14th day of the Twelfth month, 1833. 

His Imperial Japanese Majesty, Mutsuhito, Emperor of Japan, and the 123d Mikado 

of the Liue. 


necessary qualifications to the task of composing a complete history 
of Japan,*, e., knowledge of the languages and literature of Japan, Chi- 
na, Corea, and the dialects of the Malay Archipelago, Siberia, and the 
other islands of the North Pacific, historical insight, sympathy, and 
judicial acumen, has before him a virgin field. 

The body of native Japanese historical writings is rich and solid. 
It is the largest and most important division of their voluminous liter- 
ature. It treats very fully the period between the rise of the noble 
families from about the ninth century until the present time. The 
real history of the period prior to the eighth century of the Christian 
era is very meagre. It is nearly certain that the Japanese possessed 
no writing until the sixth century A.D. Their oldest extant composi- 
tion is the Kojiki, or " Book of Ancient Traditions." It may be called 
the Bible of the Japanese. It comprises three volumes, composed 
A.D. 711, 712. It is said to have been preceded by two similar works, 
written respectively in A.D. 620 and A.D. 681 ; but neither of these 
has been preserved. The first volume treats of the creation of the 
heavens and earth ; the gods and goddesses, called kami ; and the 
events of the holy age, or mythological period. The second and third 
give the history of the mikados* from the year 1 (660 B.C.) to the 
1288th of the Japanese era. It was first printed during A.D. 1624- 
1642. The Nihongi, completed A.D. 720, also contains the Japanese 
cosmogony, records of the mythological period, and brings down the 
annals of the mikado to A.D. 699. These are the oldest books in 
the language. Numerous and very valuable commentaries upon them 
have been written. They contain so much that is fabulous, mythical, 

* " The term 'mikado' is in general adhered to throughout this work. Other 
titles found in the native literature, and now or formerly in common use, are, Ten- 
shi (Son of Heaven); Tenno, or Ten O (Heaven-king) ; Kotei (Sovereign Ruler of 
Nations); Kind (The Forbidden Interior); Dairi (Imperial Palace) ; Chotei (Hall 
of Audience); 0-6, or Dai O (Great King); O Uji (The Great Family); Gosho 
(Palace). In using these titles, the common people add sama, a respectful term, 
after them. Several of them, as is evident, were used originally to denote places. 
It was quite common for the people in later time to speak of the mikado as Mia- 
ko sama, or Uye' sama (Superior Lord), in distinction from the shogun, whom they 
designated as Yedo sama. The Chinese characters employed to express the term 
'mikado' mean Honorable Gate, an idea akin to the Turkish Sublime Porte. Sa- 
tow, however, derives it from mi, great, august, awful ; and to (do in composi- 
tion), place; the notion being that the mikado is too far above ordinary mortals 
to be spoken of directly. Hence the Gate of the Palace is used us a figure for 
him. So, also, Ren-ka (Base of the Chariot, or Below the Palanquin) ; and Hei- 
ka (Foot of the Throne, or of the Steps leading to the Dais), are used to denote 
the imperial person. A term anciently used was Nin O (King of Men)." 


or exaggerated, that their statements, especially in respect of dates, 
can not be accepted as true history. According to the Kojiki, 
Jinmu Tenno was the first emperor; yet it is extremely doubtful 
whether he was a historical personage. The best foreign scholars and 
critics regard him as a mythical character. The accounts of the first 
mikados are very meagre. The accession to the throne, marriage and 
death of the sovereign, with notices of occasional rebellions put down, 
tours made, and worship celebrated, are recorded, and interesting 
glimpses of the progress of civilization obtained. 

A number of works, containing what is evidently good history, 
illustrate the period between the eighth and eleventh centuries. A 
still richer collection of both original works and modern compilations 
treat of the medieval period from the eleventh to the sixteenth cent- 
ury the age of intestine strife and feudal war. The light which 
the stately prose of history casts upon the past is further heightened 
by the many poems, popular romances, founded on historic fact, and 
the classic compositions called monogatari, all of which help to make 
the perspective of by -gone centuries melt out into living pictures. 
That portion of the history which treats of the introduction, progress, 
and expulsion of Christianity in Japan has most interest to ourselves ; 
and concerning it there is little deficiency of material, though not of a 
kind to satisfy Occidental tastes. The profound peace which followed 
the victories of lyeyasu, and which lasted from 1600-1868 the 
scholastic era of Japan gave the peaceful leisure necessary for the 
study of ancient history, and the creation of a large library of histor- 
ical literature, of which the magnificent works called the Dai Nihon 
Shi (" History of Great Japan "), and Nihon Guai Shi (" Japanese 
Outer, or Military History "), are the best examples. 

Under the Tokuga'wa shoguns (1603-1868) liberty to explore, chron- 
icle, and analyze the past in history was given ; but the seal of silence, 
the ban of censorship, and the mandate forbidding all publication were 
put upon the production of contemporary history. Hence, the peace- 
ful period, 1600 to 1853, is less known than others in earlier times. 
Several good native annalists have treated of the post-Perry period 
(1853-1872), and the events leading to the Restoration. 

In the department of unwritten history, such as unearthed relics, 
coins, weapons, museums, memorial stones, tablets, temple records, etc., 
there is much valuable material. Scarcely a year passes but some 
rich trover is announced to delight the numerous native archaeologists. 

The Japanese are intensely proud of their history, and take great 


care in making and preserving records. Memorial - stones, keeping 
green the memory of some noted scholar, ruler, or benefactor, are 
among the most striking sights on the highways, or in the towns, vil- 
lages, or temple-yards, betokening the desire to defy the ravages of 
oblivion and resist the inevitable tooth of Time. 

Almost every large city has its published history ; towns and villages 
have their annals written and preserved by local antiquarians ; family 
records are faithfully copied from generation to generation ; diaries, 
notes of journeys or events, dates of the erections of buildings, the 
names of the officiating priests, and many of the subscribing worship- 
ers, are religiously kept in most of the large Buddhist temples and 
monasteries. The bonzes (Jap. bozu) delight to write of the lives of 
their saintly predecessors and the mundane affairs of their patrons. 
Almost every province has its encyclopedic history, and every high- 
road its itineraries and guide-books, in which famous places and events 
are noted. Almost every neighborhood boasts its Old Mortality, or 
local antiquary, whose delight and occupation are to know the past. 
In the large cities professional story-tellers and readers gain a lucrative 
livelihood by narrating both the classic history and the legendary lore. 
The theatre, which in Japan draws its subjects for representation al- 
most exclusively from the actual life, past or present, of the Japanese 
people, is often the most faithful mirror of actual history. Few peo- 
ple seem to be more thoroughly informed as to their own history : 
parents delight to instruct their children in their national lore ; and 
there are hundreds of child's histories of Japan. 

Besides the sober volumes of history, the number of books purport- 
ing to contain truth, but which are worthless for purposes of historical 
investigation, is legion. In addition to the motives, equally operative 
in other countries for the corruption or distortion of historical narra- 
tive, was the perpetual desire of the Buddhist monks, who were in 
many cases the writers, to glorify their patrons and helpers, and to 
damn their enemies. Hence their works are of little value. So 
plentiful are these garbled productions, that the buyer of books always 
asked for jitsu-roku, or " true records," in order to avoid the "zu-zan" 
or "editions of Zu," so called from Zu, a noted Chinese forger of 

In the chapters on the history of Japan, I shall occasionally quote 
from the text of some of the standard histories in literal translation. 
I shall feel only too happy if I can imitate the terse, vigorous, and 
luminous style of the Japanese annalists. The vividness and pictorial 


detail of the classic historians fascinate the reader who can analyze 
the closely massed syntax. Many of the pages of the Nikon Guai 
Shi, especially, are models of compression and elegance, and glow 
with the chastened eloquence that springs from clear discernment and 
conviction of truth, gained after patient sifting of facts, and groping 
through difficulties that lead to discovery. Many of its sentences are 
epigrams. To the student of Japanese it is a narrative of intensest 

The Kojiki and Nihongi, which give the only records of very an- 
cient Japan, and on which all other works treating of this period are 
based, can not be accepted as sober history. Hence, in outlining the 
events prior to the second century of the Christian era, I head the 
chapters, not as the " Dawn of History," but the " Twilight of Fable." 
From these books, and the collections of ancient myths (Koshi Seibun), 
as well as the critical commentaries and explanations of the Japanese 
rationalists, which, by the assistance of native scholars, I have been 
able to consult, the two following chapters have been compiled.* 

* In the following chapters, I use throughout the modern names of places and 
provinces, to avoid confusion. The ancient name of Kiushiu was Tsukushi, 
which was also applied to the then united provinces of Chikuzen and Chikugo. 
Buzen and Bungo were anciently one province, called Toyo. Higo and Hizen 
are modern divisions of Hi no kuui ("The Land of Fire"). Tamba, corrupted 
from Taniwa, and Tango ("Back of Taniwa") were formerly one. Kadzusa and 
Shimosa, contracted from Kami-tsu-fusa and Shimo-tsu-fusa (kami, upper; shimo, 
lower; isu, ancient form of no; fusa, a proper name, tassel), were once united. 
Kodzuke and Shimotsuke", formed like the preceding, were "Upper" and "Low- 
er" K& All the region north of Echizen, known and unknown, including Echi- 
zen, Etchiu, Echigo, Kaga, Noto, Uzen, and Ugo, was included under the name 
Koshi no kuni. Later synonyms for Kiushiu are Saikoku (Western Provinces), 
or Chinzei in books. Chiugoku (Central Provinces) is applied to the region from 
Tamba to Nagato. Kamigata is a vague term for the country around and toward 




IN the beginning all things were in chaos. Heaven and earth were 
not separated. The world floated in the cosmic mass, like a fish in 
water, or the yolk in an egg. The ethereal matter sublimed and 
formed the heavens, the residuum became the present earth, from the 
warm mold of which a germ sprouted and became a self-animate be- 
ing, called Kuni-toko-tachi no mikoto.* Two other beings of like gen- 
esis appeared. The names, translated, of the primal three, are 

Original Being of the Country, 

Space-cleaving Being, 

Beautifier of the Land. 
Then sprang into existence twelve other beings : 

Offspring of Heaven and Earth, 

Offspring of the Gods, 

Offspring of the Ground, 

Offspring of the Heavens, 

Offspring like the Original Being of the Country, 

Kami (god) of Abundant Vegetation, 

Kami of the Earth, 

Kami of the Sand, 

Kami of Useful Timber, 

Kami of Standing Timber, 

Kami of Harvests, 

Kami of Husbandry, 

Kami of Primeval Habitations, 

Kami of Primitive Dwelling-places. 

Proceeding now to the work of creation, the kami separated the 
primordial substance into the five elements wood, fire, metal, earth, 

* It will be seen at once that the Japanese scheme of creation starts without 
a Creator, or any First Cause; and that the idea of space apart from matter is 
foreign to the Japanese philosophical system. Mikoto (masc.), mikami (fern.), 
mean " augustness." It is not the same term as mikado. Ab la the particle of. 


and water and ordained to each its properties and combination. As 
yet, the division into sexes had not taken place. In [Chinese] philo- 
sophical language, the male (yo) and female (in) principles that per- 
vade all things had not yet appeared. The first manifestation of the 
male essence was Izanagi ; of the female, Izanami. Standing togeth- 
er on the floating bridge of heaven, the male plunged his jeweled fal- 
chion, or spear, into the unstable waters beneath them, and withdraw- 
ing it, the trickling drops formed an island, upon which they descend- 
ed. The creative pair, or divine man and woman, designing to make 
this island a pillar for a continent, separated the male to the left, the 
female to the right to make a journey round the island. At their 
meeting, the female spirit spoke first, " How joyful to meet a lovely 
man !" The male spirit, offended that the first use of the tongue had 
been by a woman, required the circuit to be repeated. On their 
second meeting, the man cried out, "How joyful to meet a lovely 
woman !" They were the first couple ; and this was the beginning of 
the art of love, and of the human race. The island (Awaji), with 
seven other large, and many thousand small ones, became the Everlast- 
ing Great Japan.* At Izanami's first conception, the female essence 

* The various names of Japan to be found in the native literature are as fol- 
lows : 1. Dai Nihon Koku (Country of Great Japan ; or, Land of the Sun-source). 
Japan is the foreigner's corruption of the Chinese Ji pun ; Japanese, Ni hon, Ni- 
chi hon=Nitsu pon=Nippon or Nihon. The name may have been given by the 
Chinese or Coreans to the land lying east of them, where the sun rose; or, as is 
very probable, by the ancient inhabitants of the south-western provinces of 
Japan, as being the source from which the sun was seen to rise daily. 2. Nihon. 
3. Yashima no Kuni (Country of the Eight Great Islands), created by Izanagi and 
Izanami. 4. Onokorojima (Island of the Congealed Drop), from the legend of the 
thrusting of the heavenly falchion of Izanagi in the waters of chaos, and the drip- 
pings solidifying into land. 5. Shiki Shima (Outspread Islands), like the step- 
ping-stones in a Japanese garden: 6. Isojirojima (Cliff-fortress Island), from the 
resemblance of the cliffs of the coast to a castellated fortress. 7. Toyofiara Naka- 
su Kuni (The Country between Heaven and Earth). 8. Toyoakitsu (Dragon-fly 
Form), from the resemblance, easily seen on old native maps, to a spread-out 
dragon-fly. 9. Nichi Iki (Sun-land). 10. Ni To (Sun's Nest). 11. Toyo Ashi-wara 
(Fertile Plain of Sweet Flags). 12. Kishi Koku (The Princess Country), from 
Amaterasu, the creatrix of the country. 13. Tamato no Kuni (Land of Great 
Gentleness), in allusion to the courtesy and gentleness of the people. 14. Tamato 
(Peaceful Land). 15. Tamagaki no Uchitsu Kuni (The Country within the Boun- 
daries). 15. Uragusu no Kuni (Country of Peaceful Shores), from the absence of 
foreign enemies. 16. Fuso Koku. Fuso is the name of a tree that is said to pet- 
rify ; and hence is the emblem of a country that in the course of ages has become 
solidified and perduring. 17. Hodzuma no Kuni (Beautiful Country). 18. Yomo- 
giga SMma (Artemisia Island), referring to the upright growth of that plant, and 
emblematic of the lofty aspirations of the people. 19. Nan Sen Bu, Shiu (South- 


in being more powerful, a female child was born, greatly to the cha- 
grin of the father, who wished for male offspring. The child was 
named Ama-terasu 6 mikami, or, the Heaven -illuminating Goddess. 
She shone beautifully, and lighted the heavens and the earth. Her 
father, therefore, transferred her from earth to heaven, and gave her 
the ethereal realm to rule over. At this time the earth was close to 
heaven, and the goddess easily mounted the pillar, on which heaven 
rested, to her kingdom. 

The second child was also a female, and was called Tsuki no kami, 
and became the Goddess of the Moon. The third child, Hiruko (leech), 
was a male, but not well formed. When three years old, being still 
unable to stand, his parents made an ark of camphor-wood, and set 
him adrift at sea. He became the first fisherman, and was the God of 
the Sea and of Storms. 

After two girls and a cripple had thus been born, the father was de- 
lighted with the next fruit of his spouse, a fine boy, whom they named 
Sosanoo no mikoto. Of him they entertained the highest hopes. 
He grew up, however, to be a most mischievous fellow, killing people, 
pulling up their trees, and trampling down their fields. He grew 
worse as he grew up. He was made ruler over the blue sea ; but he 
never kept his kingdom in order. He let his beard grow down over 
his bosom. He cried constantly ; and the land became a desert, the 
rivers and seas dried up, and human beings died in great numbers. 
His father, inquiring the reason of his surly behavior, was told that he 
wished to go to his mother, who was in the region under the earth. 
He then made his son ruler over the kingdom of night. The august 
scape-grace still continued his pranks, unable to refrain from mischief. 
One day, after his sister, the Sun-goddess, had planted a field with rice, 
he turned a wild horse loose, which trampled down and spoiled all her 
work. Again, having built a store-house for the new rice, he defiled it 
so that it could not be used. At another time, his sister was sitting 
at her loom, weaving. Sosanoo, having skinned a live horse by draw- 
ing its skin off from the tail to the head, flung the reeking hide over 
the loom, and the carcass in the room. The goddess was so frightened 
that she hurt herself with the shuttle, and, in her wrath, retired to a 

crn Country of Brave Warriors). 20. Kuashiboku Kitaru no Kuni (Country ruled 
by a Slender Sword), from the slenderness of the Japanese swords in comparison 
with the unwieldy weapons of the soldiers on the continent of Asia. 21. On 
Koku (Honorable Country). 33. Shin Koku (Land of the Holy Spirits). 23. Kami 
no Kuni (Land of the Gods). 34. Ko Koku (The Mikado's Empire). 


cave, closing the mouth with a large rock. Heaven, earth, and the 
four quarters became enshrouded in darkness, and the distinction be- 
tween day and night ceased. Some of the turbulent and ill-mannered 
gods took advantage of the darkness to make a noise like the buzzing 
of flies, and the confusion was dreadful. 

Then all the gods (eight hundred thousand in number) assembled 
on the heavenly river-plain of Yasu, to discuss what was to be done 
to appease the anger of the great goddess. The wisest of the gods 
was intrusted with the charge of thinking out a stratagem to entice 
her forth. The main part of the plan was to make an image of the 
self-imprisoned goddess, which was to be more beautiful than herself, 
and thus excite at once her curiosity and her jealousy. It was to be 
a round mirror like the sun. 

A large rock from near the source of the river was taken to form 
an anvil. To make the bellows, they took the whole skin of a deer, 
and, with iron from the mines of heaven, the blacksmith-god made 
two mirrors, which successively failed to please the gods, being too 
small. The third was large and beautiful, like the sun. 

The heavenly artisans now prepared to make the finest clothes and 
jewelry, and a splendid palace for the Sun-goddess, when she should 
come out. Two gods planted the paper-mulberry and hemp, and pre- 
pared bark and fibre ; while three other gods wove them into coarse, 
striped, and fine cloth, to deck her dainty limbs. Two gods, the first 
carpenters, dug holes in the ground with a spade, erected posts, and 
built a palace. Another deity, the first jeweler, made a string of ma- 
gatama (curved jewels), the material for a necklace, hair-pins, and 
bracelets. Two other gods held in their hands the sacred wands, 
called tama-gushi. 

Two gods were then appointed to find out, by divination, whether 
the goddess was likely to appear. They caught a buck, tore out a 
bone from one of its forelegs, and set it free again. The bone was 
placed in a fire of cherry-bark, and the crack produced by the heat in 
the blade of the bone was considered a satisfactory omen. 

A sakaki-tree was then pulled up by the roots. To the upper 
branches was hung the necklace of jewels, to the middle was attached 
the mirror, and from the lower branches depended the coarse and fine 
cloth. This was called a gohei. A large number of perpetually crow- 
ing cocks was obtained from (what had been) the region of perpetual 
day. These irrepressible chanticleers were set before the cave, and be- 
gan to crow lustily in concert. The God of Invincibly Strong Hands 


was placed in concealment near the rocky door, ready to pull the god- 
dess out at her first peering forth. A goddess with a countenance 
of heavenly glossiness, named Uzum6, was appointed manager of the 
dance. " She first bound up her flowing sleeves close to her body, un- 
der the armpits, by a creeping plant, called masaki, and donned a head- 
dress made of long moss. While she blew a bamboo tube, with holes 
pierced in it between the joints, the other deities kept time to the mu- 
sic with two flat, hard pieces of wood, which they clapped together. 
Another kami took six bows, and, from the long moss hanging from 
the pine-trees on the high hills, she strung the bows, and made the 
harp called the koto. His son made music on this instrument by 
drawing across the strings grass and rushes, which he held in both 
hands. Bonfires were now lighted before the door of the cavern, and 
the orchestra of fifes, drums, cymbals, and harp began. The goddess 
Uzume now mounted the circular box, having a baton of twigs of 
bamboo grass in one hand, with a spear of bamboo twined with grass, 
on which small bells tinkled. As she danced, the drum-like box pre- 
pared for her resounded, and she, becoming possessed by a spirit of 
folly, sung a song in verses of six syllables each, which some inter- 
pret as the numerals, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 100, 1000, 10,000. 
The goddess, as she danced, loosened her dress, exposing her nude 
charms. All this was caused by the spirit which possessed her. It 
so excited the mirth of the gods that they laughed so loudly that 
heaven shook. The song and its interpretations are : 

" Hito, futa, miyo One, two, three, four, 

Itsu, muyu, nana Five, six, seven, 

Ya, koko-no, tari Eight, nine, ten, 

Momo, chi, yorodzu Hundred, thousand, ten thousand." 

" Ye gods, behold the cavern doors ! 
Majesty appears hurra ! 
Our hearts are quite satisfied ; 
Behold my charms." 

" Gods, behold the door! 
Lo ! the majesty of the goddess ! 
Shall we not be filled with rapture? 
Are not my charms excellent?" 

The Sun-goddess within, unable to account for the ill-timed mirth, 
since heaven and earth were in darkness, rose, and approaching the 
rocky door, listened to the honeyed words of one of the gods, who 
was praising her. Impelled further by curiosity, she opened the 



door slightly, and asked why Uzume danced and the gods laughed? 
Uzume replied, " I dance because there is an honorable deity who sur- 
passes your glory." As she said this, the exceedingly beauteous god 
Futodama showed the mirror. The Sun-goddess within, astonished at 
her own loveliness, which she now first beheld in the reflection, step- 
ped out a little further to gratify her curiosity. The God of Invinci- 
bly Strong Hands, who stood concealed, pulled the rock door open, 
caught her by the hand, and dragged her forth. The wisest of the 
gods, who superintended the whole proceedings, took a rope of twist- 
ed rice-straw, passed it behind her, and said, " Do not go behind this." 
They then removed the Sun -goddess to her new palace, and put a 
straw rope around it to keep off evil gods. Her wicked brother was 
punished by having each particular hair of his head pulled out, and 
his finger and toe nails extracted. He was then banished. 

Izanami's fifth child, the last in whose conception the two gods 
shared, was a son, called the God of Wild Fire. In bringing him 
forth the goddess suffered great pain ; and from the matter which she 
vomited in her agony sprung the God and Goddess of Metal. She aft- 
erward created the gods of Clay and Fresh Water, who were to pacify 
the God of Fire when inclined to be turbulent. Izanami had enjoined 
her consort not to look at her during her retirement, but he disre- 
garded her wish. She fled from him, and departed to the nether re- 
gions. Izanagi, incensed at the God of Fire, clove him in three pieces 
with his sword. From these fragments sprung the gods of Thunder, 
of Mountains, and of Rain. He then descended into the region of 
night to induce Izanami to come back to the earth. There he met 
his consort, who would not return. He found the region to be one 
of perpetual and indescribable foulness, and, before he left, he saw 
the body of his wife had become a mass of putrefaction. Escaping 
into the upper world, he washed himself in the sea, and, in the act of 
escape and purification, many gods were created. According to one 
version, Amaterasu was produced out of his left eye, and Sosanoo 
out of his nose. Those deities created out of the filth from which he 
cleansed himself became the wicked gods, who now war against the 
good gods and trouble mankind. The God of Clay and the Goddess 
of Fresh Water married. Their offspring was Naka musubi. From 
his head grew the mulberry and silk-worm, and from his navel sprung 
the five cereals, rice, wheat, beans, millet, and sorghum. 

Another legend, changing the sex of Sosanoo, says the Sun-goddess 
spoke to Sosanoo (the Moon^oddess), who reigned jointly with her 


over the high plain of heaven, and said, " I have heard that there is 
a food-possessing goddess in the central country of luxuriant reedy 
moors (Japan). Go and see." Descending from heaven, he came to 
the august abode of the Goddess of Food, and asked for refreshment. 
The goddess, creating various forms of food, such as boiled rice from 
the land, fish from the sea, beasts, with coarse and fine hair, from the 
hills, set them on a banqueting-table before Sosanoo, who, enraged at 
the manner of the creation of the food, killed her. 

Reporting the matter in heaven, Amaterasu was angry at Sosanoo, 
and degraded her (the Moon-goddess) from joint rule, and condemned 
her to appear only at night, while she, the Sun-goddess, slept. Ama- 
terasu then sent a messenger the second time to see whether the 
Food-goddess was really dead. This was found to be the case. Out 
of the dead body were growing, millet on the forehead ; silk- worms 
and a mulberry-tree on the eyebrows ; grass on the eyes ; on the belly, 
rice, barley, and large and small beans. The head finally changed 
into a cow and horse. The messenger took them all, and presented 
them to Amaterasu. The Sun -goddess rejoiced, and ordained that 
these should be the food of human beings, setting apart rice as the 
seed of the watery fields, and the other cereals as the seed of the dry 
fields. She appointed lords of the villages of heaven, and began for 
the first time to plant the rice-seeds. In the autumn the drooping 
ears ripened in luxuriant abundance. She planted the mulberry-trees 
on the fragrant hills of heaven, and rearing silk-worms, and chewing 
cocoons in her mouth, spun thread. Thus began the arts of agricult- 
ure, silk-worm rearing, and weaving. 

When Sosanoo was in banishment, there was a huge eight-headed 
dragon that had devastated the land and eaten up all the fair virgins. 
Sosanoo enticed the monster to partake of an intoxicating liquor set 
in eight jars, and then slew him while in stupor. In the tail of the 
dragon he found a sword of marvelous temper, which he presented 
to Amaterasu. This sword, called " Cloud-cluster," afterward became 
one of the three sacred emblems constituting the regalia of the Jap- 
anese sovereigns. In these last days of commerce, Sosanoo's exploit 
is pictured on the national paper money. He is also said to have in- 
vented poetry. Being as irregularly amorous as the Jupiter of anoth- 
er mythology, he was the father of many children by various mothers. 
One of the most illustrious of his offspring was Daikoku, now wor- 
shiped in every household as the God of Fortune. In the later stages 
of the mythology, heaven and earth are found peopled with myriads 


of kami, some of whom have inhabited heaven from the beginning, 
while those on the earth have been ruling or contending together 
from an indefinite period. Finally, before ushering in the third or 
final stage of the mythical history, there are general war and confu- 
sion among the gods on earth, and Amaterasii resolves to bring order 
out of the troubles, and to subdue and develop the land for herself. 

She desired to make a son of her own a ruler over the terrestrial 
world. One had been produced from her necklace, called Oshi-ho- 
mi no mikoto, who married Tamayori hime no mikoto, one of the 
granddaughters of Izanagi and Izanami. Their offspring was Ninigi 
no mikoto. After much delay, caused by the dispatch and failure of 
envoys to the gods of the earth, he prepared to descend from heaven 
to his realm on earth. The Sun -goddess gave her grandson various 
treasures, chief of which were the mirror, emblem of her own soul, 
and now worshiped at Ise, the sword Cloud-cluster, taken by Sosanoo 
from the dragon's tail, and a stone or seal. Concerning the mirror 
she said, " Look upon this mirror as my spirit ; keep it in the same 
house and on the same floor with yourself, and worship it as if you 
were worshiping my actual presence." 

Another version of this divine investiture is given in these words : 
" For centuries upon centuries shall thy followers rule this kingdom. 
Herewith receive from me the succession and the three crown talis- 
mans. Should you at any future time desire to see me, look in this 
mirror. Govern this country with the pure lustre that radiates from 
its surface. Deal with thy subjects with the gentleness which the 
smooth rounding of the stone typifies. Combat the enemies of thy 
kingdom with this sword, and slay them on the edge of it." 

Accompanied by a number of inferior gods of both sexes, he de- 
scended on the floating bridge of heaven, on which the first pair had 
stood when separating the dry land from the water, to the mountain 
of Kirishima, between Hiuga and Osumi, in Kiushiu. After his de- 
scent, the sun and earth, which had already receded from each other 
to a considerable distance, became further separated, and communica- 
tion by the floating bridge of heaven ceased. According to the com- 
mentators on the sacred books, as Japan lay directly opposite to the 
sun when it separated from the earth, it is clear (to a devout Japanese) 
that Japan lies on the summit of the globe. As it was created first, 
it is especially the Land of the Gods, the Holy Land, the Country of 
the Divine Spirits. All other countries were formed later by the 
spontaneous consolidation of the foam and mud of the sea. All for- 


eign countries were of course created by the power of the heavenly 
gods, but they were not begotten by Izanagi and Izanami, nor did 
they give birth to the Sun-goddess, which is the cause of their in- 
feriority. Japan is superior to all the world for the reasons given 
above. The traditions current in other countries as to the origin of 
the world are of course incorrect, since, being so far from the sources 
of truth, they can not be accurate, and must be greatly distorted. 
From the fact of the divine descent of the Japanese people proceeds 
their immeasurable superiority to the natives of other countries in 
courage and intelligence. This opinion, long held by Japanese in 
general, still lingers among the fanatical Shinto scholars, and helps to 
explain the intense hatred and contempt manifested toward foreigners 
as late as within the last decade. 

Ninigi no mikoto descended on Kirishima yama, and was received 
with due honors by one of the kami of the place. He had a son, who 
lived five hundred and eighty years. This son married a sea-monster, 
who appeared to him in the form of a woman, and by her he had a 
son, who became ruler, and was succeeded by a son born of an aunt. 
Ninigi, the heavenly descendant, was thus the great - grandfather of 
Jimmu Tenno, the first emperor of Japan. 

It is not easy to weave into a continuous and consistent whole the 
various versions of the Japanese accounts of creation and the acts of 
the gods, or to be always safe in deciding their origin, sex, or relations 
to each other ; for these spirits act like Milton's, and " as they please, 
they limb themselves." These myths arising among the primitive 
Japanese people of various localities, who never attempted to formulate 
them, are frequently at hopeless variance with each other ; and the in- 
genuity and ability of the learned native commentators on the sacred 
books, especially the Nihongi and Kojiki, are exercised to the highest 
degree to reconcile them. 

One author devotes twenty volumes of comment to two of the text 
of the Kojiki in these earnest efforts, making his works a rich mine 
to the student of Japanese antiquities. Translated into English, in the 
spirit of a devout Japanese, an exalted Biblical or Miltonic style should 
be used. Mr. Aston thus renders a passage from the Nakatomi no 
harai, one of the most ancient monuments of the language, describing 
the descent of the god Ninigi to the earth (Japan) : " They caused 
him to thrust from him heaven's eternal throne, to fling open heaven's 
eternal doors, to cleave with might his way from out heaven's many- 
piled clouds, and then to descend from heaven." 


A literal, or even free, translation into plain English could not, 
however, be made in a book to be read, unexpurgated, in the family 
circle. Many physiological details, and not a few references probably, 
pure to the native pure, would not be suffered by the tastes or moral 
codes in vogue among the mass of readers in Europe or America. 
Like the mythology of Greece, that of Japan is full of beauty, pathos, 
poetic fancy, charming story, and valorous exploit. Like that, it forms 
the soil of the national art, whether expressed in bronze, porcelain, 
colors ; or poetry, song, picture, the dance, pantomime, romance, sym- 
bolism ; or the aesthetics of religion. 

In spite of Buddhism, rationalism, and skeptical philosophy, it has 
entered as fully into the life and art and faith of the people of Japan 
as the mythology of the Aryan nations has entered into the life and 
art of Europe. Like that of the nations classic to us, the Japanese 
mythology, when criticised in the light of morals, and as divorced 
from art, looked at by one of alien clime, race, and faith, contains 
much that is hideous, absurd, impure, and even revolting. Judged as 
the growth and creation of the imagination, faith, and intellect of the 
primitive inhabitants of Japan, influenced by natural surroundings, it 
is a faithful mirror of their country, and condition and character, 
before these were greatly modified by outside religion or philoso- 
phy. Judged as a religious influence upon the descendants of the an- 
cient Nihonese the Japanese, as we know them it may be fairly 
held responsible for much of the peculiar moral traits of their charac- 
ter, both good and evil. The Japanese mythology is the doctrinal ba- 
sis of their ancient and indigenous religion, called Kami no michi, or 
Shinto (way or doctrine of the gods, or, by literal rendering, theology). 

One of the greatest pleasures to a student of Japanese art, antiqui- 
ties, and the life as seen in the Japan of to-day, is to discover the sur- 
vivals of primitive culture among the natives, or to trace in their cus- 
toms the fashions and ceremonies current tens of centuries ago, whose 
genesis is to be sought in the age of the gods. Beneath the poetic 
and mythical costume are many beautiful truths. 

One of the many Japanese rationalistic writers explains the hiding 
of Amaterasu in the cave as an eclipse of the sun. Ebisu, the third 
child of the first pair, is now worshiped, especially by fishermen and 
traders, and as the God of Daily Food, catching fish and selling them 
being considered the first commercial transaction, and fish the staple 
article of daily food. One need not go far from Kioto to find the 
identical spots of common earth which the fertile imagination of 


the children of Nippon has transfigured into celestial regions. Thus, 
the prototype of " the dry bed of the river Amc no yasu " is now to 
be seen in front of the city of Kioto, where the people still gather for 
pleasure or public ceremony. The " land of roots," to which Sosanoo 
was banished, is a region evidently situated a few miles north-west of 
Kioto. The dancing of Suzume before the cavern is imitated in the 
pantomimic dance still seen in every Japanese village and city street. 
The mirror made from iron in the mines of heaven by the Blacksmith- 
god was the original of the burnished disks before which the Japanese 
beauty of to-day, sitting for hours on knee and heels, and nude to the 
waist, heightens her charms. A mask of Suzume, representing the 
laughing face of a fat girl, with narrow forehead, having the imperial 
spots of sable, and with black hair in rifts on her forehead, cheeks 
puffed out, and dimpled chin, adorns the walls of many a modern Jap- 
anese house, and notably on certain festival days, and on their many 
occasions of mirth. The stranger, ignorant of its symbolic import, 
could, without entering the palace, find its prototype in five minutes, 
by looking around him, from one of the jolly fat girls at the well or 
the rice-bucket. The magatama jewels, curved and perforated pieces 
of soap-stone occasionally dug up in various parts of Japan, show the 
work of the finger of man, and ancient pictures depict the chiefs of 
tribes decked with these adornments. In the preparations made to 
attract forth the Sun-goddess, we see the origin of the arts of music by 
wind and stringed instruments, dancing, divination, adornment, weav- 
ing, and carpentry. To this day, when the Japanese female is about 
to sweep, draw water, or perform household duties, she binds up her 
sleeves to her armpits, with a string twisted over her shoulders, like 
the sleeve - binder of the dancing goddess. Before Shinto shrines, 
trees sacred to the kami, at New-year's-day before gates and doors, 
and often in children's plays, one sees stretched the twisted ropes of 
rice-straw. In the month of August especially, but often at the fairs, 
festivals, and on holidays, the wand of waving jewels, made by sus- 
pending colored paper and trinkets to a branch of bamboo, and some- 
thing like a Christmas-tree, is a frequent sight. The gohei is still the 
characteristic emblem seen on a Shinto shrine. All these relics, triv- 
ial and void of meaning to the hasty tourist, or the alien, whose only 
motive for dwelling on the island is purely sordid, are, in the eye of 
the native, and the intelligent foreigner, ancient, sacred, and productive 
of innocent joy, and to the latter, sources of fresh surprise and enjoy- 
ment of a people in themselves intensely interesting. 




BETWEEN the long night of the unknown ages that preceded the 
advent of the conquerors, and the morning of what may be called real 
history, there lies the twilight of mythology and fabulous narration. 

The mythology of Nippon, though in essence Chinese, is Japanese 
in form and coloring, and bears the true flavor of the soil from 
whence it sprung. The patriotic native or the devout Shintoist may 
accept the statements of the Kojiki as genuine history ; but in the 
cold, clear eye of an alien they are the inventions of men shaped to ex- 
alt the imperial family. They are a living and luxurious growth of 
fancy around the ruins of facts that in the slow decay of time have 
lost the shape by which recognition is possible. Chinese history does 
indeed, at certain points, corroborate what the Japanese traditions de- 
clare, and thus gives us some sure light; but for a clear understand- 
ing of the period antedating the second century of the Christian era, 
the native mythology and the fabulous narrations of the Kojiki are 
but as moonlight. 

Jimmu Tenno, the first mikado, was the fifth in descent from the 
Sun-goddess. His original name was Kan Yamato Iware Hiko no 
mikoto. The title Jimmu Tenno, meaning " spirit of war," was post- 
humously applied to him many centuries afterward. When the Ko~ 
jiki was compiled, pure Japanese names only were in use. Hence, in 
that book we meet with many very long quaint names and titles 
which, when written in the .Chinese equivalents, are greatly abbrevi- 
ated. The introduction of the written characters of China at a later 
period enabled the Japanese to express almost all their own words, 
whether names, objects, or abstract ideas, in Chinese as well as Japa- 
nese. Thus, in the literature of Japan two languages exist side by 
side, or imbedded in each other. This applies to the words only. 
Japanese syntax, being incoercible, has preserved itself almost entirely 

The Kojiki states that Jimmu was fifty years old when he set out 


upon his conquests. He was accompanied by his brothers and a few 
retainers, all of whom are spoken of as kami, or gods. The coun- 
try of Japan was already populated by an aboriginal people dwelling 
in villages, each under a head-man, and it is interesting to notice how 
the inventors of the Kojiki account for their origin. They declare, 
and the Japanese popularly believe, that these aboriginal savages were 
the progeny of the same gods (Izanagi and Izanami) from whom Jim- 
mu sprung ; but they were wicked, while Jimmu was righteous. 

The interpretation doubtless is, that a band of foreign invaders land- 
ed in Hiuga, in Kiushiu, or they were perhaps colonists, who had oc- 
cupied this part of the country for some time previous. The territory 
of Hiuga could never satisfy a restless, warlike people. It is mount- 
ainous, volcanic, and one of the least productive parts of Japan. 

At the foot of the famous mountain of Kirishima, which lies on 
the boundary between Hiuga and Ozumi, is the spot where Jimmu re- 
sided, and whence he took his departure. 

Izanagi and Izanami first, and afterward Ninigi, the fourth ancestor 
of Jimmu, had descended from this same height to the earth. Every 
Japanese child who lives within sight of this mountain gazes with 
reverent wonder upon its summit, far above the sailing clouds and 
within the blue sky, believing that here the gods came down from 

The story of Jimmu's march is detailed in the Kojiki, and the nu- 
merous popular books based upon it. A great many wonderful creat- 
ures and men that resembled colossal spiders were encountered and 
overcome. Even wicked gods had to be fought or circumvented. 
His path was to Usa, in Buzen ; thence to Okada ; thence by ship 
through the windings of the Suwo Nada, a part of the Inland Sea,* 

* The " Inland Sea" (Se'to Uchi) is a name which has been given by foreigners, 
and adopted by the Japanese, who until modem times had no special name for 
it as a whole. Indeed, the whole system of Japanese geographical nomenclature 
proves that the generalizations made by foreigners were absent from their con- 
ceptions. The large bays have not a name which unifies all their parts and limbs 
into one body. The long rivers possess each, not one name, but many local ap- 
pellations along their length. The main island was nameless, so were Shikoku 
and Kiushiu for many centuries. Yezo, to the native, is a region, not an island. 
Even for the same street in a city a single name, as a rule, is not in use, each 
block receiving a name by itself. This was quite a natural proceeding when the 
universe, or "all beneath heaven," meant Japan. The Se'to Uchi has been in Jap- 
anese history what the Mediterranean was to the course of empire in Europe, due 
allowance being made for proportions, both physical and moral. It extends near- 
ly east and west two hundred and forty miles, with a breadth varying from ten to 


landing in Aki. Here he built a palace, and remained seven years. 
He then went to the region of Bizen, and, after dwelling there eight 
years, he sailed to the East. The waves were very rough and rapid 
at the spot near the present site of Ozaka,* where he finally succeeded 
in landing, and he gave the spot the name Nami Haya (swift waves). 
This afterward became, in the colloquial, and in poetry, Naniwa. 

Hitherto the career of the invaders had been one of victory and 
easy conquest, but they now received their first repulse. After severe 
fighting, Jimmu was defeated, and one of his brothers was wounded. 
A council of war was held, and sacred ceremonies celebrated to dis- 
cover the cause of the defeat. The solemn verdict was that as chil- 
dren of the Sun -goddess they had acted with irreverence and pre- 
sumption in journeying in opposition to the course of the sun from 
west to east, instead of moving, as the sun moves, from east to west. 
Thereupon they resolved to turn to the south, and advance westward. 
Leaving the ill-omened shores, they coasted round the southern point 

thirty miles, with many narrow passages. It has six divisions (nada), taking 
their names from the provinces whose shores they wash. It contains avast num- 
ber of islands, but few known dangers, and has a sea-board of seven hundred 
miles, densely populated, abounding with safe and convenient anchorages, dotted 
with many large towns and provincial capitals and castled cities, and noted for 
the active trade of its inhabitants. It communicates with the Pacific by the chan- 
nels of Kii on the east, Bungo on the south, and by the Straits of Shimonose"ki 
(" the Gibraltar of Japan"), half a mile wide, on the west. It can be navigated 
safely at all seasons of the year by day, and now, under ordinary circumstances, 
by night, thanks to the system of light-houses thoroughly equipped with the latest 
instruments of optical science, including dioptric and catoptric, fixed and revolv- 
ing, white and colored lights, in earthquake-proof towers, erected by English en- 
gineers in the service of the mikado's Government. The tides and currents of 
the Se'to Uchi are not as yet perfectly known, but are found to be regular at the 
east and west entrances, the tide-waves coming from the Pacific. In many parts 
they run with great velocity. The cut on page 57 shows one of these narrow 
passages where the eddying currents rush past a rock in mid-channel, scouring 
the shores, and leaving just enough room for the passage of a large steamer. 

A very destructive species of mollusk inhabits the Inland Sea, which perfo- 
rates timber, making holes one -third of an inch in diameter. Sailing-vessels 
bound to Nagasaki sometimes find it better in winter to work through the Inland 
Sea rather than to beat round Cape Chichakoff against the Kuro Shiwo. This lat- 
ter feat is so difficult that sailors are apt to drop the o from the Japanese name 
(Satano) of this cape (misaki) and turn it into an English or Hebrew word. Those 
who are trying to prove that the Japanese are the " lost tribes " might make one 
of their best arguments from this fact. Kaempfer, it may be stated, derived the 
Japanese, by rapid transit, from the Tower of Babel, across Siberia to the islands. 

* The spelling of Ozaka (accent on the 6) is in accordance with the require- 
ments of Japanese rules of orthography, and the usage of the people in Ozaka 
and Kioto. 


of Kii, and landed at Arasaka. Here a peaceful triumph awaited 
them, for the chief surrendered, and presented Jimmu with a sword. 
A representation of this scene, engraved on steel, now adorns the green- 
back of one of the denominations of the national bank - notes issued 
in 1872. The steps of the conqueror were now bent toward Yamato. 
The mountain-passes were difficult, and the way unknown ; but by act 
of one of the gods, Michi no Omi no mikoto, who interposed for their 
guidance, a gigantic crow, having wings eight feet long, went before the 
host, and led the warriors into the rich land of Yamato. Here they 
were not permitted to rest, for the natives fought stoutly for their soiL 

A Narrow Passage iii the Inland Sea. 

On one occasion the clouds lowered, and thick darkness brooded 
over the battle-field, so that neither of the hosts could discern each 
other, and the conflict stayed. Suddenly the gloom was cleft by the 
descent from heaven of a bird like a hawk, which, hovering in a flood 
of golden effulgence, perched upon the bow of Jimmu. His adver- 
saries, dazzled to blindness by the awful light, fled in dismay. Jim- 
mu, being now complete victor, proceeded to make his permanent 
abode, and fixed the miako, or capital, at Kashiwabara, some miles 
distant from the present site of Kioto. Here he set up his govern- 
ment, and began to rule over all the lands which he had conquered. 
Peace was celebrated with rejoicings, and religious ceremonies of im- 
posing magnificence. He distributed rewards to his soldiers and offi- 
cers, and chose his chief captains to be rulers over provinces, appor- 
tioning them lands, to be held in return for military service. It will 


be noticed that this primal form of general government was a species 
of feudalism. Such a political system was of the most rudimentary 
kind ; only a little better than the Council of the Six Nations of the 
Iroquois, or was similar to that of the Aztecs of Mexico. 

The country being now tranquilized, weapons were laid aside, and 
attention was given to the arts of peace. Among the first things ac- 
complished was the solemn deposit of the three sacred emblems mir- 
ror, sword, and ball in the palace. Sacrifices were offered to the 
Sun-goddess on Torimino yama. 

Jirnmu married the princess Tatara, the most beautiful woman in 
Japan, and daughter of one of his captains. During his life-time his 
chief energies were spent in consolidating his power, and civilizing 
his subjects. Several rebellions had to be put down. After choosing 
an heir, he died, leaving three children, at the age of one hundred and 
twenty-seven years, according to the Nihongi, and of one hundred and 
thirty-seven, according to the KojiTd. 

It is by no means certain that Jimmu was a historical character. 
The only books describing him are but collections of myths and fa- 
bles, in which exists, perhaps, a mere skeleton of history. Even the 
Japanese writers, as, for instance, the author of a popular history 
(Dai Nihon Koku Kai Biaku Yuraii Ki\ interpret the narratives 
in a rationalistic manner. Thus, the " eight-headed serpents " in the 
Kojiki are explained to be persistent arch-rebels, or valorous enemies ; 
the " ground-spiders," to be rebels of lesser note ; and the " spider-pits 
or holes," the rebels' lurking-places. The gigantic crow, with wings 
eight feet long, that led the host into Yamato was probably, says the 
native writer, a famous captain whose name was Karasu (crow), who 
led the advance-guard into Yamato, with such valor, directness, and 
rapidity, that it seemed miraculous. The myth of ascribing the guid- 
ance of the army to a crow was probably invented later. A large 
number of the incidents related in the Kojiki have all the character- 
istics of the myth. 

Chinese tradition ascribes the peopling of Japan to the following 
causes : The grandfather (Taiko) of the first emperor (Buwo) of the 
Shu dynasty (thirty-seven emperors, eight hundred and seventy-two 
years, B.C. 1120249) in China, having three sons, wished to bequeath 
his titles and estates to his youngest son, notwithstanding that law 
and custom required him to endow the eldest. The younger son re- 
fused to receive the inheritance ; but the elder, knowing that his father 
Taiko would persist in his determination, and unwilling to cause trou- 


ble, secretly left his father's house and dominions, and sailed away 
to the South of China. Thence he is supposed to have gone to 
Japan and founded a colony in Hiuga. His name was Taihaku KL* 
This event took place about forty-six years before the usually acceptr 
ed date of Jimmu's departure from Hiuga upon his career of conquest 

Whatever may be the actual facts, Jimmu Tenno is popularly be- 
lieved to have been a real person, and the first emperor of Japan. 
He is deified in the Shinto religion, and in thousands of shrines ded- 
icated to him the people worship his spirit. In the official list of 
mikados, he is named as the first. The reigning emperor refers to 
him as his ancestor from whom he claims unbroken descent. The 
7th day of the Fourth month (April 7th) is fixed as the anniversary 
of his ascension to the throne, and that day is a national holiday, on 
which the iron-clad navy of modern Japan fires salutes, from Krupp 
and Armstrong guns, in his honor, and the military, in French uni- 
forms, from Snider and Remington rifles, burn in memoriam powder. 

The era of Jimmu is the starting-point of Japanese chronology, and 
the year 1 of the Japanese era is that upon which he ascended the 
throne at Kashiwabara.f A large number of Japanese students and 
educated men who have been abroad, or who, though remaining at 
home, 'have shed their old beliefs, and imbibed the modern spirit of 
nihilism, regard Jimmu as a myth. The majority, however, cling to 
their old belief that the name Jimmu represents a historical verity, 
and hold it as the sheet-anchor of their shifting faith. A young Jap- 
anese, fresh from several years' residence in Europe, was recently ral- 
lied concerning his belief in the divinity of the mikado and in the 
truth of the Kojiki. His final answer was, "It is my duty to believe 
in them." 

* The twelfth name of Japan (see foot-note, p. 44), Kishi koku, is also translated 
"country of the Ki family," from this legend (shi, family; koku, country); and 
the Chinese still apply this name to Japan. 

t Dr. J. J. Hoffman, who has written the best Japanese grammar yet published, 
in expressing the exact date given in the Kojiki, in terms of the Julian style, 
says the 19th of February (660 B.C.) was the day of Jimmu's ascension. Pro- 
fessor F. Kaiser has found out by calculation that at eight A.M. on that day of 
the said year there was a new moon at the miako. " Therefore," says this gram- 
marian, leaping on the wings of his own logic to a tremendous conclusion, and 
settling down into assured satisfaction, "the correctness of the Japanese chro- 
nology may not be called in question." (See page 157, and note of "A Japanese 
Grammar," J. J. Hoffman, Leyden, 1868.) 




FROM the death of Jimmu Tenno to that of Kimmei, in whose 
reign Buddhism was introduced (A.D. 571), there were, according to 
the Dai Nihon Shi, thirty -one mikados. During this period of 
twelve hundred and thirty-six years, believed to be historic by most 
Japanese, the most interesting subjects to be noted are the reforms of 
Sujin Tenno, the military expeditions to Eastern Japan by Yamato 
Dake, the invasion of Corea by the Empress Jingu Kogo, and the in- 
troduction of Chinese civilization and of Buddhism. 

The Nihongi details the history and exploits of these ancient rulers 
with a minuteness and exactness of circumstance that are very sus- 
picious. It gives the precise birthdays and ages of the emperors, who 
in those days attained an incredible longevity. Takenouchi, the Japa- 
nese Methusaleh, lived to be over three hundred and fifty years old, 
and served as prime minister to five successive emperors. Twelve 
mikados lived to be over one hundred years old. One of them ruled 
one hundred and one years. The reigns of the first seventeen aver- 
aged over sixty-one years. From the seventeenth to the thirty-first, 
the average reign is little over twelve years. In the list there are 
many whose deeds, though exaggerated in the mirage of fable, are, in 
the main, most probably historic. 

Sujin, also called Shujin or Sunin (B.C. 97-30), was, according to 
the Dai Nihon Shi, a man of intense earnestness and piety. The 
traits of courage and energy which characterized his youth gave him 
in manhood signal fitness for his chosen task of elevating his people. 
He mourned over their wickedness, and called upon them to forsake 
their sins, and turn their minds to the worship of the gods. A great 
pestilence having broken out, and the people being still unrepentant, 
the pious monarch rose early in the morning, fasted, and purified his 
body with water, and called on the kami to stay the plague. After 
solemn public worship the gods answered him, and the plague abated. 
A revival of religious feeling and worship followed. In his reign 
dates the building of special shrines for the adoration of the gods. 


Hitherto the sacred ceremonies had been celebrated in the open air. 
Further, the three holy regalia (mirror, sword, and ball) had hith- 
erto been kept in the palace of the mikado. It was believed that 
the efficacy of the spirit was so great that the mikado dwelling with 
the spirit was, as it were, equal to a god. These three emblems had 
been placed within the palace, that it might be said that where they 
were dwelt the divine power. A rebellion having broken out during 
his reign, he was led to believe that this was a mark of the disfavor 
of the gods, and in consequence of his keeping the emblems under 
his own roof. Reverencing the majesty of the divine symbols, and 
fearing that they might be defiled by too close proximity to his car- 
nal body, he removed them from his dwelling, and dedicated them in 
a temple erected for the purpose at Kasanui, a village in Yamato. 
He appointed his own daughter priestess of the shrine and custodian 
of the symbols a custom which has continued to the present time. 

The shrines of Uji, in Ise, which now hold these precious relics of 
the divine age, are always in charge of a virgin princess of imperial 
blood. Later, being warned by the goddess Amaterasu to do so, she 
carried the mirror from province to province, seeking a suitable lo- 
cality ; but having grown old in their search, Yamato hime* continued 
it, and finally, after many changes, they were deposited in their pres- 
ent place A.D. 4. Copies of the mirror and sword were, however, 
made by Sujin, and placed in a separate building within the palace 
called the "place of reverence." This was the origin of the chapel 
still connected with the mikado's imperial palace. 

From the most early time the dwelling and surroundings of the mi- 
kado were characterized by the most austere simplicity, quite like the 
Shinto temples themselves, and the name miya was applied to both. 
In imagining the imperial palace in Japan, the reader on this side the 
Pacific must dissolve the view projected on his mind at the mention 
of the term " palace." Little of the stateliness of architecture or the 
splendor and magnificence of the interior of a European palace belongs 
to the Japanese imperial residence. A simple structure, larger than an 
ordinary first-class dwelling, but quite like a temple in outward appear- 
ance, and destitute of all meretricious or artistic ornamentation within, 
marks the presence of royalty, or semi-divinity, in Japan. Even in Ki- 
oto, for centuries, the palace, except for its size and slightly greater el- 

* The suffix hime after female proper names means " princess." It is still used 
by the ladies of the imperial family, and by the daughters of the court nobles. 
Jfaye, with no, was also added to names of ladies of rank. 



evation, could not be distinguished from the residences of the nobles, 
or from a temple. All this was in keeping with the sacredness of the 
personage enshrined within. For vain mortals, sprung from inferior or 
wicked gods, for upstart generals, or low traders bloated with wealth, 
luxury and display were quite seemly. Divinity needed no material 
show. The circumstances and attributes of deity were enough. The 
indulgence in gaudy display was opposed to the attributes and char- 
acter of the living representative of the Heavenly Line. This rigid 
simplicity was carried out even after death. In striking contrast with 
the royal burial customs of the nations of Asia are those of Japan. 

The Mikado's Method of Travel in very Ancient Times. 

All over the East, the tombs of dead dynasties are edifices of all oth- 
ers the most magnificent. The durable splendor of the homes of the 
departed far exceed that of the palaces of the living. But in Japan, 
in place of the gorgeous mausoleums and the colossal masterpieces of 
mortuary architecture of continental Asia, the sepulchres of the mika- 
dos seem monuments of chaste poverty. Nearly all of the imperial 
tombs are within the three provinces of Yamato, Yamashiro, and Set- 
tsu. A simple base of stone, surmounted by a low shaft, set upon a 
hillock, surrounded by a trench, and inclosed with a neat railing of 
timber, marks the resting-places of the dead emperors. All this is in 
accordance with the precepts of Shinto. 



The whole life of Sujin was one long effort to civilize his half- 
savage subjects. He ordained certain dayn when persons of both 
sexes must lay aside their regular employment, and give the Govern- 
ment his or her quantum of labor. The term for the labor of the 
men means " bow-point," and of the women " hand-point," implying 
that in the one case military service was the chief requirement, and 
in the other that of the loom or the field. He endeavored, in or- 
der to secure just taxation, to inaugurate a regular periodical census, 
and to reform the methods of dividing and recording time.* He 
encouraged the building of boats, in order to increase the means of 
transportation, promote commerce, and to bring the people at the 
extremities of the country in contact with each other. Communi- 
cation between Corea and Kiushiu was rendered not only possible, 
but promised to be regular and profitable. We read that, during 
his reign, an envoy, bringing presents, arrived from Mimana, in Co- 
rea, B.C. 33. Six years later, it is recorded that the prince, a chief of 
Shiraki, in Corea, came to Japan to live. It is evident that these Co- 
reans would tell much of what they had seen in their own country, 
and that many useful ideas and appliances would be introduced under 
the patronage of this enlightened monarch. Sujin may be also called 
the father of Japanese agriculture, since he encouraged it by edict and 
example, ordering canals to be dug, water-courses provided, and irriga- 
tion to be extensively carried on. Water is the first necessity of the 
rice-fanner of Asia. It is to him as precious a commodity as it is to 
the miner of California. Rice must be sown, transplanted, and grown 
under water. Hence, in a country where this cereal is the staple crop, 
immense areas of irrigated fields are necessary. One of the unique 
forms of theft in rice-countries, which, in popular judgment, equals in 

* The twenty -four divisions of the solar 3 T ear (according to the lunar calendar), 
by which the Japanese farmers have for centuries regulated their labors, are as 
follows : 

' Beginning of Spring" February 3. 

' Rain-water " February 19. 

'Awakening of the Insects". . .March 5. 

' Middle of the Spring" March 20. 

' Clear Weather" April 5. 

'Seed Rain" April 20. 

' Beginning of Summer" May 5. 

' Little Plenty " May 20. 

1 Transplanting the Rice " June 5. 

' Height of the Summer" June 21. 

' Little Heat" July . 

' Great Heat". July 23. 

' Beginning of Autumn " August 7. 

' Local Heat" August 23. 

' White Dew" September 8. 

' Middle of Autumn " September 23. 

' Cold Dew" October S. 

' Fall of Hoar-frost" October 23. 

' Beginning of Winter" November 7. 

'Little Snow" November 22. 

' Great Snow" December 7. 

' Height of the Winter" December 22. 

' Little Frost" January 6. 

1 Great Frost" January 20. 


iniquity the stealing of ore at the mines, or horses on the prairies, 
is the drawing off water from a neighbor's field. In those old rude 
times, the Japanese water-thief, when detected, received but little more 
mercy than the horse-robber in the West. The immense labor neces- 
sary to obtain the requisite water-supply can only be appreciated by 
one who has studied the flumes of California, the tanks of India, or 
the various appliances in Southern Asia. In Japan, it is very com- 
mon to terrace, with great labor, the mountain gulches, and utilize the 
stream in irrigating the platforms, thus changing a noisy, foaming 
stream into a silent and useful servant. In many cases, the water is 
led for miles along artificial canals, or ditches, to the fertile soil which 
needs it. On flat lands, at the base of mountains, huge reservoirs are 
excavated, and tapped as often as desired. In the bosom of the Ha- 
kone Mountains, between Sagami and Suruga, is a deep lake of pure 
cold water, over five thousand feet above the sea-level. On the plain 
below are few or no natural streams. Centuries ago, but long after 
Sujin's time, the mountain wall was breached and tunneled by man- 
ual labor, and now through the rocky sluices flows a flood sufficient 
to enrich the millions of acres of Suruga province. The work begun 
by Sujin was followed up vigorously by his successor, as we read that, 
in the year A.D. 6, a proclamation was issued ordering canals and sluices 
to be dug in over eight hundred places. 

The emperor had two sons, whom he loved equally. 1 ' Unable to de- 
termine which of them should succeed him, he one day told them to 
tell him their dreams the next morning, and he should decide the 
issue by interpretation. The young princes accordingly washed their 
bodies, changed their garments, and slept. Next day the elder son 
said, " I dreamed that I climbed up a mountain, and, facing the east, 
I cut with the sword and thrust with the spear eight times." The 
younger said, " I climbed the same mountain, and, stretching snares 
of cords on every side, tried to catch the sparrows that destroy the 
grain." The emperor then interpreted the dream, "Yotf, my son," 
said he to the elder, "looked in one direction. You will go to the 
East, and become its governor." " You, my son," said he to the 
younger, " looked in every direction. You will govern on all sides. 
You will become my heir." It happened as the father had said. The 
younger became emperor, and a peaceful ruler. The elder became the 
governor of, and a warrior in, the East. 

The story is interesting as illustrating the method of succession to 
the throne. Usually it was by primogeniture, but often it depended 


upon the will or whim of the father, the councils of his chiefs, or the 
intrigues of courtiers. 

The energies of this pious mikado were further exerted in devising 
and executing a national military system, whereby his peaceably dis- 
posed subjects could be protected and the extremities of his domin- 
ions extended. The eastern and northern frontiers were exposed to 
the assaults of the wild tribes of Ainos who were yet unsubdued. 
Between the peaceful agricultural inhabitants who owned the sway of 
the ruler in Yamato, and the untamed savages who gloried in their 
freedom, a continual border-war existed. The military division of the 
empire into four departments was made, and a shogun, or general, was 
appointed over each. These departments were the To, Nan, and Sai 
kai do, and Hokurokudo, or the East, Southland West-sea Circuits, 
and the Northern-land Circuit. The strict division of the empire into 
do, or circuits, according with the natural features and partitions of 
the country, which is still recognized, was of later time ; but already, 
B.C. 25, it seems to have been foreshadowed by Sujin. 

One of these shoguns, or generals, named Obiko, who was assigned 
to the Northern Department, lying north of Yamato and along the 
west coast, holds a high place of renown among the long list of 
famous Japanese warriors. It is said that when, just after he had 
started to join his command, he heard of a conspiracy against the 
mikado, returning quickly, he killed the traitor, restored order, and 
then resumed his duties in the camp at the North. His son held com- 
mand in the East. In the following reign, it is written that military 
arsenals and magazines were established, so that weapons and rations 
were ready at any moment for a military expedition to repel incursions 
from the wild tribes on the border, or to suppress insurrections within 
the pale of the empire. The half -subdued inhabitants in the extremes 
of the realm needed constant watching, and seem to have been as 
restless and treacherous as the Indians on our own frontiers. The 
whole history of the extension and development of the mikado's em- 
pire is one of war and blood, rivaling, if not exceeding, that of our 
own country in its early struggles with the Indians. This constant 
military action and life in the camp resulted, in the course of time, in 
the creation of a powerful and numerous military class, who made war 
professional and hereditary. It developed that military genius and 
character which so distinguish the modern Japanese, and mark them 
in such strong contrast with other nations of Eastern Asia. The long- 
sustained military operations also served to consolidate the empire. 


In these ancient days, however, there was no regular army, no special 
class of warriors, as in later times. Until the eighth century, the 
armies were extemporized from the farmers and people generally, as 
occasion demanded. The war over, they returned to their daily em- 
ployments. The mikados were military chiefs, and led their armies, 
or gave to their sons or near relatives only, the charge of expeditions. 
It is not my purpose to follow in detail the long series of battles, 

Imperial or Japanese Government Seal for Public Business. The Chrysanthemum. 

or even court conspiracies and intrigues, which fill the Japanese his- 
tories, and lead some readers to suppose that war was the normal con- 
dition of the palace and empire. I prefer to show the condition 
of the people, their methods of life, customs, ideas, and beliefs. Al- 
though wars without and intrigues within were frequent, these by no 
means made up the life of the nation. Peace had its victories, no 
less renowned than those of war. A study of the life of the people, 
showing their progress from barbarism to civilization, will, I think, be 
of more interest to the reader than details concerning imperial rebels, 
poisoners, or stabbers. 

In the Japanese histories, and in official language, literature, and eti- 
quette of later days, there exists the conception of two great spheres 
of activity and of two kinds of transactions, requiring two methods of 



treatment. They are the nai and guai, the inner and the outer, the in- 
terior and exterior of the palace, or the throne and the empire. Thus 
the Nikon Guai Shi, by Rai Sanyo, or " External History of Japan," 
treats of the events, chiefly military, outside the palace. His other 
work, Nikon Seiki, treats rather of the affairs of the " forbidden in- 
terior" of the palace. In those early days this conception had not 
been elaborated. 

Imperial Crest, or the Mikado's Seal, for Private or Palace Business. Leaf and Blossoms 
of the Paulawnia imperialis (kiri.) 

The mikado from ancient times has had two crests, answering to 
the coats of arms in European heraldry. One is a representation of a 
chrysanthemum (kiku), and is used for government purposes outside 
the palace. It is embroidered on flags and banners, and printed on 
official documents. Since the Restoration, in 1868, the soldiers of the 
imperial army wear it as a frontlet on their caps. The other crest, 
representing a blossom and leaves of the Paulownia imperialis (kiri), 
is used in business personal to the mikado and his family. The an- 
cient golden chrysanthemum has, since 1868, burst into new bloom, 
like the flowering of the nation itself, and has everywhere displaced 
the trefoil of the parvenus of later feudalism the Tokugawas, the 
only military vassals of the mikado who ever assumed the preposter- 
ous title of " Tycoon." 




A NEW hero appears in the second century, whose personality seems 
so marked that it is impossible to doubt that within the shell of fabu- 
lous narration is a rich kernel of history. This hero, a son of the 
twelfth emperor, Keiko (71-130 A.D.), is pictured as of fair mien, manly 
and graceful carriage. In his youth he led an army to put down a re- 
bellion in Kiushiu ; and, wishing to enter the enemy's camp, he dis- 
guised himself as a dancing-girl, and presented himself before the sen- 
tinel, who, dazed by the beauty and voluptuous figure of the supposed 
damsel, and hoping for a rich reward from his chief, admitted her to 
the arch-rebel's tent. After dancing before him and his carousing 
guests, the delighted voluptuary drew his prize by the hand into his 
own tent. Instead of a yielding girl, he found more than his match in 
the heroic youth, who seized him, held him powerless, and took his 
life. For this valorous effort he received the name Yamato-Dake, or, 
the Warlike. Thirteen years after this victory, A.D. 110, the tribes in 
eastern Japan revolted, and Yamato-Dake went to subdue them. He 
stopped at the shrine of the Sun-goddess in Ise, and, leaving his own 
sword under a pine -tree, he obtained from the priestess the sacred 
sword, one of the holy emblems enshrined by Sujin. Armed with 
this palladium, he penetrated into the wilds of Suruga, to fight the 
Ainos, who fled before him from the plains into the woods and mount- 
ain fastnesses. The Aino method of warfare, like that of our North 
American Indians, was to avoid an encounter in the open field, and to 

* Kuanto (east of the barrier). The term Kuanto was, probably as early as the 
ninth century, applied to that part of Japan lying east of the guard-gate, or bar- 
rier, at Ozaka, a small village on the borders of Yamashiro and Omi. It included 
thirty-three provinces. The remaining thirty-three provinces were called Kuan- 
sei (west of the barrier). In modern times and at present, the term Kuanto (writ- 
ten also Kant6) is applied to the eight provinces (Kuan-hasshiu) east of the Ha- 
kone" range, consisting of Sagami, Musashi, Kodzuke", Shimotsuke", Kadzusa, Awa, 
Shimosa, and Hitachi. Sometimes Idzu, Kai, and the provinces of Hondo north 
of the thirty-eighth parallel, formerly called Mutsu and De" wa, are also included. 


fight in ambush from behind trees, rocks, or in the rank undergrowth, 
using every artifice by which, as pursued, they could inflict the great- 
est damage upon an enemy with the least loss and danger to them- 
selves. In the lore of the forest they were so well read that they felt 
at home in the most tangled wilds. They were able to take advan- 
tage of every sound and sign. They were accustomed to disguise 
themselves in bear-skins, and thus act as spies and scouts. Fire was 
one of their chief means of attack. On a certain occasion they kin- 

Japan, as known to the Ancient Mikados before the Fifth Century. 

died the underbrush, which is still seen so densely covering the un- 
cleared portions of the base of Fuji. The flames, urged by the wind, 
threatened to surround and destroy the Japanese army a sight which 
the Ainos beheld with yells of delight. The Sun-goddess then ap- 
peared to Yamato-Dake, who, drawing the divinely bestowed sword 
Murakumo, or "Cloud-cluster" cut the grass around him. So invin- 
cible was the blade that the flames ceased advancing and turned to- 
ward his enemies, who were consumed, or fled defeated. Yamato-Dake 


then gratefully acknowledging to the gods the victory vouchsafed to 
him, changed the name of the sword to Kusanagi (Grass-mower). 

Crossing the Hakone Mountains, he descended into the great plain 
of the East, in later days called the Kuanto, which stretches from the 
base of the central ranges and table-land of Hondo to the shores of 
the Pacific, and from Sagami to Iwaki. On reaching the Bay of Yedo 
at about Kamizaki, near Uraga, off which Commodore Perry anchored 
with his steamers in 1853, the hills of the opposite peninsula of Awa 
seemed so very close at hand, that Yamato-Dake supposed it would be 
a trifling matter to cross the intervening channel. He did not know 
what we know so well now, that at these narrows of the bay the 
winds, tides, currents, and weather are most treacherous. Having 
embarked with his host, a terrific storm arose, and the waves tossed 
the boat so helplessly about that death seemed inevitable. Then the 
frightened monarch understood that the Sea-god, insulted by his dis- 
paraging remark, had raised the storm to punish him. The only way 
to appease the wrath of the deity was by the sacrifice of a victim. 
Who would offer? One was ready. In the boat with her lord was 
his wife, Tachibana hime. Bidding him farewell, she leaped into the 
mad waves. The blinding tempest drove on the helpless boat, and 
the victim and the saved were parted. But the sacrifice was accepted. 
Soon the storm ceased, the sky cleared, the lovely landscape unveiled 
in serene repose. Yamato-Dake landed in Kadzusa, and subdued the 
tribes. At the head of the peninsula, at a site still pointed out within 
the limits of modern Tokio, he found the perfumed wooden comb of 
his wife, which had floated ashore. Erecting an altar, he dedicated the 
precious relic as a votive offering to the gods. A Shinto shrine still 
occupies the site where her spirit and that of Yamato-Dake are wor- 
shiped by the fishermen and sailors, whose junks fill the Bay of Yedo 
with animation and picturesque beauty. As usual, a pine-tree stands 
near the shrine. The artist has put Mount Fuji in the distance, a 
beautiful view of which is had from the strand. Yamato-Dak6 then 
advanced northward, through Shimosa, sailing along the coast in 
boats to the border, as the Japanese claimed it to be, between the 
empire proper and the savages, which lay at or near the thirty-eighth 
parallel. The two greatest chiefs of the Ain5s, apprised of his com- 
ing, collected a great army to overwhelm the invader. Seeing his 
fleet approaching, and awed at the sight, they were struck with con- 
sternation, and said, " These ships must be from the gods. If so, and 
we draw bow against them, we shall be destroyed." No sooner had 


Yamato-Dak6 landed than they came to the strand and surrendered. 
The hero kept the leaders as hostages, and having tranquilizcd the 
tribes, exacting promise of tribute, he set out on the homeward jour- 
ney. His long absence from the capital in the wilds of the East 
doubtless disposed him to return gladly. He passed through Hitachi 
and Shimosa, resting temporarily at Sakura, then through Musashi 
and Kai. Here he is said to have invented the distich, or thirty-one- 
syllable poem, so much used at the present day. After his army had 
been refreshed by their halt, he sent one of his generals into Echizen 
and Echigo to tranquilize the North-west and meet him in Yamato. 

Junk in the Bay of Yedo, near the Shrine of Tachibana him6. 

He himself marched into Shinano. Hitherto, since crossing the 
Hakone range, he had carried on his operations on the plains. Shi- 
nano is a great table-land averaging twenty-five hundred, and rising 
in many places over five thousand, feet above the sea-level, surrounded 
and intersected by the loftiest peaks and mountain ranges in Japan. 
Ninety-five miles north-west of Tokio is the famous mountain pass of 
TJsui Toge, the ascent of which from Sakamoto, on the high plain be- 
low, is a toilsome task. At this point, twenty-six hundred feet above 
Sakamoto, unrolls before the spectator a magnificent view of the Bay 
of Yedo and the plain below, one of the most beautiful and impress- 
ive in Japan. Here Yamato stood and gazed at the land and water, 


draperied in the azure of distance, and, recalling the memory of his 
beloved wife, who had sacrificed her life for him, he murmured, sadly, 
"Adzuma, adzuma" (My wife, my wife). The plain of Yedo is still, 
in poetry, called Adzuma. One of the princes of the blood uses Ad- 
zuma as his surname; and the ex-Confederate iron-clad ram Stone- 
wall, now of the Japanese navy, is christened Adzuma-kuan. 

To cross the then almost unknown mountains of Shinano was a 
bold undertaking, which only a chief of stout heart would essay.* 
To travel in the thinly populated mountainous portions of Japan even 
at the present time, at least to one accustomed to the comfort of the 
palace-cars of civilization, is not pleasant. In those days, roads in the 
Kuanto were unknown. The march of an army up the slippery as- 
cents, through rocky defiles, over lava-beds and river torrents, required 
as much nerve and caution as muscle and valor. To their superstitious 
fancies, every mountain was the abode of a god, every cave and defile 
the lurking-place of spirits. Air and water and solid earth were pop- 
ulous with the creatures of their imagination. Every calamity was 
the manifestation of the wrath of the local gods ; every success a proof 
that the good kami were specially favoring them and their leaders. 
The clouds and fogs were the discomfiting snares of evil deities to 
cause them to lose their path. The asphyxiating exhalations from 
volcanoes, or from the earth, which to this day jet out inflammable 
gas, were the poisonous breath of the mountain gods, insulted by the 
daring intrusion into their sacred domain. On one occasion the god 
of the mountain came to Yamato-Dake, in the form of a white deer, to 
trouble him. Yamato-Dake, suspecting the animal, threw some wild 
garlic in its eye, causing it to smart so violently that the deer died. 

* The cold in winter in the high mountain regions of Shinano is severe, and 
fires are needed in the depth of summer. Heavy falls of snow in winter make 
traveling tedious and difficult. I went over this part of Yamato-Dake' s journey 
in 1873, completing a tour of nine hundred miles. As I have gone on foot over 
the mountain toges (passes) from Takata, in Echigo, to Tokio, in Musashi, and 
likewise have been a pedestrian -up and over the pass of St. Bernard, I think, all 
things considered, the achievement of Yamato-Dake" fully equal in courage, skill, 
daring, patience, and romantic interest to that of Napoleon. The tourist to-day 
who makes the trip over this route is rewarded with the most inspiring views of 
Fuji, Asama yama, Yatsugadake", and other monarchs in this throne-room of nat- 
ure in Japan. In the lowlands of Kodzuke" also is the richest silk district in all 
Japan, the golden cocoons, from which is spun silver thread, covering the floors 
of almost every house during two summer months, while the deft fingers of Jap- 
anese maidens, pretty and otherwise, may be seen busily engaged in unraveling 
the shroud of the worm, illustrating the living proverb, " With time and patience 
even the mulberry-leaf becomes silk." 


Immediately the mountain was shrouded in mist and fog, and the path 
disappeared. In the terror and dismay, a white dog a good kami in 
disguise appeared, and led the way safely to the plains of Mino. 

Again the host were stricken by the spirit of the white deer. All 
the men and animals of the camp were unable to stand, stupefied by 
the mephitic gas discharged among them by the wicked kami. Hap- 
pily, some one bethought him of the wild garlic, ate it, and gave to 
the men and animals, and all recovered. At the present day in Japan, 
partly in commemoration of this incident, but chiefly for the purpose 
of warding off infectious or malarious diseases, garlic is hung up be- 
fore gates and doors in time of epidemic, when an attack of disease is 
apprehended. Thousands of people believe it to be fully as effica- 
cious as a horseshoe against witches, or camphor against contagion. 
Descending to the plains of Mino, and crossing through it, he came 
to Ibuki yama, a mountain shaped like a truncated sugar-loaf, which 
rears its colossal flat head in awful majesty above the clouds. Yama- 
to-Dake attempted to subdue the kami that dwelt on this mountain. 
Leaving his sword, " Grass-mower," at the foot of the mountain, he 
advanced Unarmed. The god transformed himself into a serpent, and 
barred his progress. The hero leaped over him. Suddenly the heav- 
ens darkened. Losing the path, Yamato-Dake swooned and fell. On 
drinking of a spring by the way, he was able to lift up his head. 
Henceforward it was called Same no idzumi, or the Fountain of Re- 
covery. Reaching Otsu, in Ise, though still feeble, he found, under 
the pine-tree, the sword which he had taken off before, and forthwith 
composed a poem : " O pine, were you a man, I should give you this 
sword to wear for your fidelity." He had been absent in the Kuanto 
three years. He recounted before the gods his adventures, difficulties, 
and victories, made votive offerings of his weapons and prisoners, and 
gave solemn thanks for the deliverance vouchsafed him. He then re- 
ported his transactions to his father, the mikado, and, being weak and 
nigh to death, he begged to see him. The parent sent a messenger 
to comfort his son. When he arrived, Yamato-Dake' was dead. He 
was buried at Nobono, in Ise. From his tomb a white bird flew up ; 
and on opening it, only the chaplet and robes of the dead hero were 
found. Those who followed the bird saw it alight at Koto-hiki hara 
(Plain of the Koto-players) in Yamato, which was henceforth called 
Misazaki Shiratori (Imperial Tomb of the White Bird). His death 
took place A.D. 113, at the age of thirty-six. Many temples in the 
Kuanto and in various parts of Japan are dedicated to him. 


I have given so full an account of Yamato-Dake to show the style 
and quality of ancient Japanese tradition, and exhibit the state of 
Eastern Japan at that time, and because under the narration there is 
good history of one who extended the real boundaries of the early 
empire.* Yamato-Dake was one of the partly historic and partly ideal 
heroes that are equally the cause and the effect of the Japanese mili- 
tary spirit. It may be that the future historians of Japan may con- 
sider this chapter as literary trash, and put Yamato-Dake and all his 
deeds in the same limbo with Romulus and his wolf-nurse, William 
Tell and his apple ; but I consider him to have been a historical per- 
sonage, and his deeds a part of genuine history. 

* The names of the various provinces of Japan are given below. Each name 
of Japanese origin has likewise a synonym compounded of the Chinese word shiu 
(province), affixed to the pronunciation of the Chinese character with which the 
first syllable of the native word is written. In some cases the Chinese form is 
most in use, in which case it is italicized. In a few cases both forms are current. 

Go Kinai (Five Home Provinces). 

Hokurikudo (Continued). 

Yamashiro, or Joshiu. 

Echigo, " Esshiu. 

Yamato, " Washiu. 

Sado (island), " Sashiu. 

Kawachi, " Kashiu. 
Idzumi, " Senshiu. 

Sanindo (Mountain-back Region). 

Settsu, " Sesshiu. 

Tamba, or Tanshiu. 

Tokaido (Eastern-sea Region). 

Tango, " Tanshiu. 
Tajima, " Tanshiu. 

Iga, or Ishin. 

Iimba, " Inshiu. 

Ise, Seishiu. 

Hoki, " Hakushiu. 

Shima, Shishiu. 

Idzumo, " Unshiu. 

Owari, Bishiu. 
Mikawa, Sanshiu. 

Iwami, " Sekishiu. 
Oki (islands). 

Totomi, Enshiu. 

Suruga, Sunshiu. 

Sanyodo (Mountain-front Region). 

Idzu, Dznshiu. 

Harima, or Banshiu. 

Kai, Koshiu. 

Mimasaka, ' Sakushiu. 

Sagami, Soshiu. 

Bizen, ' Bishiu. 

Musaski. Bushiu. 

Bitchiu, Bishiu. 

Awa, Boshiu. 

Bingo, Bishiu. 

Xadzusa, Soshin. 

Aki, Geishiu. 

Shimdsa, Soshiu. 

Suwo, Boshiu. 

Hitachi, Joshiu. 

Nagato, Choshiu. 

Tozando (Eastern-mountain Region). 
<5mi, or Gdshiu. 
Mino, Nosniu. 
Hida, Hishin. 

Nankaido (Southern-sea Region). 
Kii, or Kishiu. 
Awaji (island), Tanshin. 
Awa Ashiu. 

Shinano. Shinshiu. 
Kodzuke, . Joshiu. 
Shimotsuk6, < Yashiu. 
flwashi, ~) 5S 

Sanuki, Sanshin. 
lyo, Yoshiu. 
Tosa, Toshiu. 

g Iwashiro, g 

Saikaido (Western-sea Region). 

^ J. Rikuzen, > a " Oshin. 
g Riknchin, '3 
. I Michinoku,] -o 

CO >TT \ Q> 

Chikuzen, or Chikushiu. 
Chikugo, Chiknshiu. 
Buzen, Hoshin. 

> f Uzen, \ *5 TT 

Bungo, Hoshiu. 

J2 \Ugo, j > 

Hizen, Hishin. 


Hifio, llisliiu. 

Hokurikudo (Northern-land Region). 
Wakasa, or Jakushiu. 
Echizen, " Esphin. 

Hiuga, Nisshiu. 
Ozumi, Oushin. 
Satsnma, Sasshin. 

Kafia, " Kashiu. 

The " Two Islands." 

Koto, " Noshiu. 

Tsushima, or Taishiu. 

Etchiu, " Esshiu. 

ltd, " Ishiu. 




IF Japan is to Asia what Great Britain is to Europe according to 
the comparison so often made by the modern Japanese then Corea 
was to Dai Nippon what Norman France was to Saxon England. 
Through this peninsula, and not directly from China, flowed the influ- 
ences whose confluence with the elements of Japanese life produced 
the civilization which for twelve centuries has run its course in the 
island empire. The comparison is not perfect, inasmuch as Japan 
sent the conqueror to Corea, whereas Normandy sent William across 
the Channel. In the moral and {esthetic conquest of Rome by Greece, 
though vanquished by Roman arms, we may perhaps find a closer re- 
semblance to the events of the second triad of the Christian centuries 
in the history of Japan. i 

Is it true among historic nations that anciently the position of 
woman was higher than in later times ? It has been pointed out by 
more than one writer on Greece " that in the former and ruder period 
women had undoubtedly the higher place, and their type exhibited 
the highest perfection." This is certainly the case in Japan. The 
women of the early centuries were, according to Japanese history, 
possessed of more intellectual and physical vigor, filling the offices of 
state, religion, and household honors, and approaching more nearly 
the ideal cherished in those countries in which the relation of the 
sexes is that of professed or real equality. Certain it is that, whereas 
there are many instances of ancient Japanese women reaching a high 
plane of social dignity and public honor, in later ages the virtuous 
woman dwelt in seclusion ; exemplars of ability were rare ; and the 
courtesan became the most splendid type of womanhood. This must 
be more than the fancy of poets. As in the Greece of Homer and 
the tragedians, so in early Nippon, woman's abilities and possibilities 
far surpassed those that were hers in the later days of luxury and civ- 
ilization. To a woman is awarded the glory of the conquest of Co- 
rea, whence came letters, religion, and civilization to Japan. 


In all Japanese tradition or history, there is no greater female char- 
acter than the empress Jingu (godlike exploit). Her name was Okina- 
ga Tarashi hime, but she is better known by her posthumous title of 
Jingu Kogo, or Jingu, the wife or spouse of the mikado. She was 
equally renowned for her beauty, piety, intelligence, energy, and mar- 
tial valor. She was not only very obedient to the gods, but they de- 
lighted to honor her by their inspiration. She feared neither the 
waves of the sea, the arrows of the battle-field, nor the difficulties that 
wait on all great enterprises. Great as she was in her own person, 
she is greater in the Japanese eyes as the mother of the god of war. 

In the year 193 a rebellion broke out at Kumaso, in Kiushiu. The 
mikado Chiuai (191200) headed his army, and marched to subdue 
the rebels. Jingu Kogo, or Jingu, the empress, followed him by ship, 
embarking from Tsuruga, in Echizen a port a few miles north-west 
of the head of Lake Biwa meeting her husband at Toyo no ura, near 
the modern Shimonoseki, of indemnity fame. While worshiping on 
one of the islands of the Inland Sea, the god spoke to her, and said, 
" Why are you so deeply concerned to conquer Kumaso ? It is but a 
poor, sparse region, not worth conquering with an army. There is a 
much larger and richer country, as sweet and lovely as the face of a 
fair virgin. It is dazzling bright with gold, silver, and fine colors, and 
every kind of rich treasures is to be found in Shiraki (in Corea). Wor- 
ship me, and I will give you power to conquer the country without 
bloodshed ; and by my help, and the glory of your conquest, Kumaso 
shall be straightway subdued." The emperor, hearing this from his 
wife, which she declared was the message of the gods, doubted, and, 
climbing to the summit of a high mountain, looked over the sea, and 
seeing no land to the westward, answered her : " I looked everywhere 
and saw water, but no land. Is there a country in the sky ? If not, 
you deceived me. My ancestors worshiped all the gods : is there any 
whom they did not worship ?" 

The gods, answering through the inspired empress, made reply : 
" If you believe only your doubts, and say there is no country when 
I have declared there is one, you blaspheme, and you shall not go 
thither ; but the empress, your wife, has conceived, and the child 
within her shall conquer the country." Nevertheless, the emperor 
doubted, and advanced against Kumaso, but was worsted by the rebels. 
While in camp, he took sick and died suddenly. According to an- 
other tradition, he was slain in battle by an arrow. His minister, 
Takenouchi, concealed his death from the soldiers, and carried the 


corpse back to Toyo no ura, in Nagato. The brave Jingu, with the 
aid of Takenouchi, suppressed the rebellion, and then longed for con- 
quest beyond the sea. 

While in Hizen, in order to obtain a sign from the gods she went 
down to the sea-shore, and baited a hook with a grain of boiled rice, 
to catch a fish. " Now," said she, " I shall conquer a rich country if a 
fish be caught with this grain of rice." The bait took. A fish was 
caught, and Jingu exultingly accepted the success of her venture as a 
token of celestial approval of her design. " M&lzurashiki mono!" 
(wonderful thing), exclaimed the royal lady. The place of the omen 
is still called Matsura, corrupted from the words she used. In further 
commemoration, the women of that section, every year, in the first 
part of the Fourth month, go fishing, no males being allowed the priv- 
ilege on that day. The pious Jingu prepared to invade Corea; but 
wishing another indication of the will of the kami, she on one occa- 
sion immersed her hair in water, saying that, if the gods approved of 
her enterprise, her tresses would become dry, and be parted into two 
divisions. It was as she desired. Her luxuriant black hair came 
from the water dry, and parted in two. Her mind was now fixed. 
She ordered her generals and captains to collect troops, build ships, 
and be ready to embark. Addressing them, she said: "The safety 
or destruction of our country depends upon this enterprise. I intrust 
the details to you. It will be your fault if they are not carried out. 
I am a woman, and young ; I shall disguise myself as a man, and un- 
dertake this gallant expedition, trusting to the gods, and to my troops 
and captains. We shall acquire a wealthy country. The glory is 
yours, if we succeed ; if we fail, the guilt and disgrace shall be mine." 
Her captains, with unanimity and enthusiasm, promised to support 
her and carry out her plans. The enterprise was a colossal one for 
Japan at that time. Although the recruiting went on in the various 
provinces, and the ships were built, the army formed slowly. Chaf- 
ing at the delay, but not discouraged, again she had recourse to the 
efficacy of worship and an appeal to the gods. Erecting a tabernacle 
of purification, with prayers and lustrations and sacrifices she prayed 
the kami to grant her speedy embarkation and success. The gods 
were propitious. Troops came in. The army soon assembled, and 
all was ready, A.D. 201. 

Before starting, Jingu issued orders to her soldiers, as follows : 

"No loot. 

" Neither despise a few enemies nor fear many. 


" Give mercy to those who yield, but no quarter to the stubborn. 

" Rewards shall be apportioned to the victors ; punishments shall be 
meted to the deserters." 

Then the words of the gods came, saying, " The Spirit of Peace will 
always guide you and protect your life. The Spirit of War will go 
before you and lead your ships." 

Jingu again returned thanks for these fresh exhibitions of divine 
favor, and made her final preparations to start, when a new impedi- 
ment threatened to delay hopelessly the expedition, or to rob it of its 
soul and leader, the Amazonian chief. She discovered that she was 
pregnant. Again the good favor of the gods enabled her to triumph 
over the obstacles which nature, or the fate of her sex, might throw in 
the path of her towering ambition. She found a stone which, being 
placed in her girdle, delayed her accouchement until her return from 

It does not seem to have been perfectly clear in the minds of those 
ancient filibusters where Corea was, or for what particular point of the 
horizon they were to steer. They had no chart or compass. The 
sun, stars, and the flight of birds were their guides. In a storm they 
would be helpless. One fisherman had been sent to sail westward 
and report. He came back declaring there was no land to be seen. 
Another man was dispatched, and returned, having seen the mount- 
ains on the main-land. The fleet sailed in the Tenth month. Winds, 
waves, and currents were all favorable. The gods watched over the 
fleet, and sent shoals of huge fishes to urge on the waves that by their 
impact lifted the sterns and made the prows leap as though alive. 
The ships beached safely in Southern Corea, the Japanese army land- 
ed in the glory of sunlight and the grandeur of war in splendid array. 
The king of this part of Corea had heard from his messengers of the 
coming of a strange fleet from the East, and, terrified, exclaimed, " We 
never knew there was any country outside of us. Have our gods for- 
saken us ?" The invaders had no fighting to do as they expected. It 
was a bloodless invasion. The Coreans came, holding white flags, and 
surrendered, offering to give up their treasures. They took an oath 
that they would be tributary to Japan, that they would never cause 
their conquerors to dispatch another expedition, and that they would 
send hostages to Japan. The rivers might flow backward, or the peb- 
bles in their beds leap up to the stars, yet would they not break their 
oath. Jingu set up weapons before the gate of the king in token of 
peace. By his order eighty ships well laden with gold and silver, ar- 


tides of wealth, silk and precious goods of all kinds, and eighty hos- 
tages, men of high families, were put on board. 

The stay of the Japanese army in Corea was very brief, and the 
troops returned in the Twelfth month. Jingu was, on her arrival, de- 
livered of a son, who, in the popular estimation of gods and mortals, 
holds even a higher place of honor than his mother, who is believed 
to have conquered Southern Corea through the power of her yet un- 
born illustrious offspring. After leaving her couch, the queen-regent 
erected in Nagato (Choshiu) a shrine, and in it dedicated the Spirit of 
War that had guided her army. She then attended to the funeral 
rites of her deceased husband, and returned to the capital. 

The conquest of Corea, more correctly a naval raid into one of the 
southern provinces, took place A.D. 203. The motive which induced 
the invasion seems to have been the same as that carried out by Hide- 
yoshi in 1583, and contemplated in 1873 mere love of war and con- 
quest. The Japanese refer with great pride to this their initial ex- 
ploit on foreign soil. It was the first time they had ever gone in 
ships to a foreign country to fight. For the first time it gave them 
the opportunity of displaying their valor in making " the arms of Ja- 
pan shine beyond the seas " a pet phrase which occurs in many docu- 
ments in Japan, even in this 2536th year of the Japanese empire, and 
of our Lord 1876. Nevertheless, the honor of the exploit is given to 
the unborn son on whom dwelt the Spirit of War, rather than to the 
mother who bore him. 

The queen-mother is worshiped in many temples as Kashii dai mio 
jin. The son, Ojin, afterward a great warrior, was, at his death, 313 
A.D., deified as the god of war ; and down through the centuries he 
has been worshiped by all classes of people, especially by soldiers, who 
offer their prayers, pay their vows, and raise their votive offerings to 
him. Many of the troops, before taking steamer for Formosa, in 1874, 
implored his protection. In his honor some of the most magnificent 
temples in Japan have been erected, and almost every town and vil- 
lage, as well as many a rural grove and hill, has its shrine erected to 
this Japanese Mars. He is usually represented in his images as of 
frightful, scowling countenance, holding, with arms akimbo, a broad 
two-edged sword. One of the favorite subjects of Japanese artists of 
all periods is the group of figures consisting of the snowy-bearded 
Takenouchi, in civil dress, holding the infant of Jingu Kogo in his 
arms, the mother standing by in martial robes. Jingu is the heroine 
and model for boys, not of the girls. In the collection of pictures, 



images, and dolls which in Japanese households on the 5th of May, 
every year, teach to the children the names and deeds of the national 
heroes, and instill the lessons taught by their example, this warrior- 
woman is placed among the male, and not among the female, groups. 

Nine empresses in all have sat upon the throne of Japan as rulers, 
four of whom reigned at the capital, Nara. None have won such mar- 
tial renown as Jingu. It is not probable, however, that military enter- 
prise will ever again give the nation another ideal woman like the 
conqueror of Corea. It is now, in modern days, given to the Empress 
of Japan to elevate the condition of her female subjects by graciously 
encouraging the education of the girls, and setting a noble example, 
not only of womanly character and of active deeds of benevolence, 
but also in discarding the foolish and barbarous customs of past ages, 
notably that of blacking the teeth and shaving off the eyebrows. This 
the present empress, Haruko, has done. Already this chief lady of the 
empire has accomplished great reforms in social customs and fashions, 
and, both by the encouragement of her presence and by gifts from her 
private purse, has greatly stimulated the cause of the education and the 
elevation of woman in Japan. Haply, it may come to pass that this 
lady in peaceful life may do more for the good and glory of the em- 
pire than even the renowned queen-regent, Jingu Kogo. 

The early centuries of the Christian era, from the third to the 
eighth, mark that period in Japanese history during which the future 
development and character of the nation were mightily influenced by 
the introduction, from the continent of Asia, of the most potent fac- 
tors in any civilization. They were letters, religion, philosophy, liter- 
ature, laws, ethics, medicine, science, and art. Heretofore the first un- 
foldings of the Japanese intellect in the composition of sacred hymns, 
odes, poems, myths, and tradition had no prop upon which to train, 
and no shield against oblivion but the unassisted memory. The Jap- 
anese were now to have records. Heretofore religion was simply the 
rude offspring of human imagination, fear, and aspiration, without 
doctrinal systems, moral codes, elaborate temples, or sacerdotal caste. 
Henceforth the Japanese were to be led, guided, and developed in 
morals, intellect, and worship by a religion that had already brought 
the nations of Asia under its sway a strong, overpowering, and ag- 
gressive faith, that was destined to add Japan to its conquests. Bud- 
dhism, bringing new and greater sanctions, penalties, motives, and a 
positive theology and code of morals, was to develop and broaden the 
whole nature of the individual man, and to lead the entire nation 

Her Imperial Japanese Majesty, the Empress of Japan, Uaruko, nee Ichijo Haruko. 
(From a photograph taken at Tokio, 1874.) 


forward. Chinese philosophy and Confucian morals were to form 
the basis of the education and culture of the Japanese statesman, 
scholar, and noble, to modify Shinto, and with it to create new 
ideals of government, of codes, laws, personal honor, and household 
ordering. Under their influence, and that of circumstances, have 
been shaped the unique ideals of the samurai; and by it a healthy 
skepticism, amidst dense superstition, has been maintained. The com- 
ing of many immigrants brought new blood, ideas, opinions, methods, 
improvements in labor, husbandry, social organization. Japan received 
from China, through Corea, what she is now receiving from America 
and Europe a new civilization. 

For nearly a century after the birth of Ojin, the record of events is 
blank. In 249 A.D. a Japanese general, Arata, was sent to assist one 
state of Corea against another. Occasional notices of tribute-bearers 
arriving from Corea occur. In 283 a number of tailors, in 284 excel- 
lent horses, were sent over to Japan. In 285, Wani, a Corean schol- 
ar, came over to Japan, and, residing some time at the court, gave 
the mikado's son instruction in writing. If the Nihongi the author- 
ity for the date of Wani's arrival in Japan could be trusted in 
its chronology, the introduction of Chinese writing, and probably 
of Buddhism, would date from this time ; but the probabilities are 
against positive certainty on this point. If it be true, it shows that 
the first missionary conquest of this nation was the work of four cent- 
uries, instead of as many decades. Wani died in Japan, and his 
tomb stands near Ozaka. In A.D. 403 a court annalist was chosen. 
Envoys and tribute-bearers came, and presents were exchanged. In 
462 mulberry-trees were planted evidently brought, together with 
the silk-worm, for whose sustenance they were intended from China 
or Corea. Again, tailors in 471, and architects in 493, and learned 
men in 512, arrived. An envoy from China came in 522. The ar- 
rival of fresh immigrants and presents from Corea in 543 is noted. 
In 551, during a famine in Corea, several thousand bushels of barley 
were dispatched thither by Japan. In 552, a company of doctors, 
diviners, astronomers, and mathematicians from Corea came to live at 
the Japanese court. With them came Buddhist missionaries. This 
may be called the introduction of continental civilization. Begin- 
ning with Jingu, there seems to have poured into the island empire a 
stream of immigrants, skilled artisans, scholars, and teachers, bringing 
arts, sciences, letters and written literature, and the Buddhist religion. 
This was the first of three great waves of foreign civilization in Japan. 


The first was from China, through Corea in the sixth ; the second 
from Western Europe, in the fifteenth century; the third was from 
America, Europe, and the world, in the decade following the advent of 
Commodore Perry. These innovations were destined to leaven might- 
ily the whole Japanese nation as a lump. Of these none was so pow- 
erful and far-reaching in effects as that in the sixth century, and no one 
element as Buddhism. This mighty force was destined to exert a re- 
sistless and unifying influence on the whole people. Nothing, among 
all the elements that make up Japanese civilization, has been so potent 
in forming the Japanese character as the religion of Buddha, That 
the work of these new civilizers may be fully appreciated, let us 
glance at life in Dai Nippon before their appearance.* 

* The Empress Jingu, after her return, made a very important change in the 
divisions of the empire. Seimu Tenno (A.D. 131-190) had divided the empire into 
provinces, the number of which was thirty-two in all, the land above the thirty- 
eighth parallel being still unknown, and inhabited by the wild tribes of Aiuos. 
Jingu, imitating the Corean arrangement, divided the empire into five home 
provinces, and seven do, or circuits, naming them in relation to their direction 
from the capital. These are analogous to our "Eastern," "Middle," "South- 
ern," "Western," "Trans-Mississippi," and "Pacific-coast" divisions of States. 
The "five home provinces" (Go Kinai) are Yamashiro, Yamato, Kawachi, Idzu- 
mi, and Settsn. The Tokaido, or Eastern-sea Circuit, comprised the provinces 
skirting the Pacific Ocean from Iga to Hitachi, including Kai. 

The Tdzando, or Eastern-mountain Circuit, included those provinces from <3mi 
to the end of the main island, not on the Sea of Japan, nor included within the 

The Hokurokudo, or Northern -land Circuit, comprised the provinces from 
Wakasa to Echigo inclusive, bordering on the Sea of Japan, and Sado Island. 

The Sanindo, or Mountain -back Circuit, comprised with the Oki group of 
islands the provinces from Tamba to Iwami, bordering on the Sea of Japan. 

The Sanyddo, or Mountain-front Circuit, comprised the provinces from Hari- 
ma to Nagato (or Choshiu) bordering the Inland Sea. 

The NankaidS, or Southern-sea Circuit, comprises the province of Kii, the four 
provinces of lyo, Sanuki, Awa, and Tosa, in Shikoku (M, four: koku, province) 
and the Island of Awaji. 

The Saikaido, or Western -sea Circuit, comprises nine provinces of Kiushiu 
(Wu, nine; shiu, province). 
The " two islands " are Ik! and Tsushima. 

This division accords with the' physical features of the country, and has ever 
since been retained, with slight modifications as to provinces. It is very proba- 
thut in the time of Jingu, the Japanese did not know that Hondo was an 
A foreigner looking at the map of the empire, or a globe representing 
world, could hardly imagine that the Japanese have no special and universal 
y used name for the main island. Yet such is the fact, that neither they nor 
books popularly apply any particular name to the main island. It may be 
!ven doubted whether the people in general ever think of the main island as be- 
ing a particular division requiring a name, as the foreigner conceives it and thus 


feels a name to be a necessity. This necessity has given rise to the error of ap- 
plying the term " Niphon " (Nihon, Nippon, or Nifon), first done by Kaempfer. 
The Japanese had no more necessity to apply a special name to the main ittlund 
than the early American colonists had to give a name to the region beyond the 
Mississippi. Even now we have no name in general use for that now well-known 
part of our country. To foreigners, the absence of a name for the largest island 
seems an anomaly. In the Japanese mind it never existed. He rarely spoke 
even of Kiushiu or Shikoku as names of islands, always using the names of the 
do, or circuits, just as an American speaks of the New England or the Eastern 
States. In modern times, native scholars who have, from their study, compari- 
sons, and foreign methods of thought, felt the need of a distinctive name, have 
used Hondo (main continent or division), Honjima (main island), or Honjiu 
(main country). Of these, Hondo seems to be the best ; and as it is used in the 
official geography recently issued by the War Department, I have made use of 
it. Nippon is not, nor ever was, the name of the main island, as Kaempfer first 
asserted. Nippon, or Dai Nippon, is the name of the whole empire. The word 
is Chinese, and must have been applied in very ancient times, as the Nihongi con- 
tains the three characters with which the name is written. The very name of the 
book, Nippongi, or, more elegantly, Nihongi, shows that the use of the term Nip- 
pon antedates the eighth century. Tenshi Tenno, in A.D. 670, first officially de- 
clared Nippon to be the name of Japan. It has been asserted that the use of Dai 
(Great) before Nippon is quite recent, and that the motive of the modern natives 
of Japan in thus designating their empire is " from a desire to imitate what they 
mistake for the pride or vainglory of Great Britain, not knowing that the term 
Great was used there to distinguish it from a smaller French province of the 
same name." To this remarkable statement it is sufficient to answer, that one 
of the most ancient names of Japan is O Yamato, the word 6 meaning great, and 
the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese word tai or dai. When Chinese writing 
was introduced, the Japanese, in seeking an equivalent for O Yamato, found it in 
Dai Nippon, as may be seen in the Nihongi. The Chinese have always been in 
the habit of prefixing dai or tai to whatever relates to their country, govern- 
ment, or any thing which they in their pride consider very superior. Anciently 
they called China Dai To, and they now call it Dai Tsin (or Dai Chin), Great 
China. The Japanese have done the same analogous thing for at least twelve, 
probably for fifteen, centuries. That the use of Dai (Great) before Nippon is not 
the fashion of the present century is proved by the fact that the Japanese ency- 
clopedia San Sai Dzu Ye, finished in 1712, contains the name with the pronuncia- 
tion as now used, and that it is found in the very name Dai Nihon Shi, a book 
completed in 1715. The use of Nippon (or Niphon, or Nipon), applied to the 
main island, is altogether unwarrantable and confusing. The Japanese have 
very properly protested against this improper naming of their chief island, and, 
notwithstanding the long use of the name in Europe and America, I believe it 
should be expunged. The Japanese have some geographical rights which we are 
bound to respect. 




THE comparatively profound peace from the era of SQjin Tenno to 
the introduction of Chinese civilization was occasionally interrupted 
by insurrections in the southern and western parts of the empire, or 
by the incursions of the unsubdued aborigines in the North and East. 

During these centuries there continued that welding of races the 
Aino, Malay, NigritoJ Corean, and Yamato into one ethnic compos- 
ite the Japanese and the development of the national temperament, 
molded by nature, circumstances, and original bent, which have pro- 
duced the unique Japanese character. Although, in later centuries, 
Japan borrowed largely from China, blood, language, religion, letters, 
education, laws, politics, science, art, and the accumulated treasures of 
Chinese civilization, her children are to-day, as they have ever been, a 
people distinct from the Chinese, ethnologically, physically, and morally. 

Though frequent fighting was necessary, and many of the aborigi- 
nes were slaughtered, the great mass of them were tranquilized. To 
rude men, in a state of savagery whose existence is mainly animal, it 
matters little who are their masters, so long as they are not treated 
with intolerable cruelty. The aborigines attached to the land roamed 
over it to hunt, or remained upon it to till it, and, along the water- 
courses and sea-coast, to fish. With a soil that repaid generously the 
rude agriculture of that day, an ample food-supply in the sea, without 
severe labor, or exorbitant tribute to pay, the conquered tribes, when 
once quieted, lived in happiness, content, and peace. The govern- 
ment of them was the easiest possible. The invaders from the very 
beginning practiced that system of concubinage which is practical 
polygamy, and filled their harems with the most attractive of the 
young native females. The daughter of the former chief shared the 
couch of the conqueror, and the peasant became the wife of the sol- 
dier, securing that admixture of races that the merest tyro in ethnol- 
ogy notices in modern Japan. In certain portions, as in the extreme 
north of Hondo, the Aino type of face and head, and the general 
physical characteristics of skin, hair, eyes, and form, have suffered the 


least modification, owing to later conquest and less mixture of foreign 
blood. In Southern and Central Japan, where the fusion of the races 
was more perfect, the oval face, oblique eyes, aquiline nose, prominent 
features, and light skin prevail. Yet even here are found compara- 
tively pure specimens of the Malay and even Nigrito races, besides the 
Aino and Corean types. The clod-hopper, with his flat, round face, up- 
turned nose, expanded at the roots and wide and sunken at the bridge, 
nostrils round, and gaping like the muzzle of a proboscidian, bears in 
his veins the nearly pure blood of his aboriginal ancestors. Intellectu- 
ally and physically, he is the developed and improved Aino the re- 
sultant of the action upon the original stock of the soil, food, climate, 
and agricultural life, prolonged for more than twenty centuries. 

In the imperial family, and among the kuge, or court-nobles, are to 
be oftener found the nearest approach to the ideal Japanese of high 
birth. Yet even among these, who claim twenty - five centuries of 
semi-divine succession, and notably among the daimios, or territorial 
nobles the parvenus of feudalism the grossly sensual cast, the ani- 
mal features, the beastly expression, the low type, the plebeian face 
of some peasant ancestor re-appear to plague the descendant, and to 
imbitter his cup of power and luxury. This phenomenon is made 
abundant capital of by the native fiction - writers, caricaturists, and 
dramatists. The diversity of the two types is shown, especially by 
the artists, in strongly marked contrast. In the pictures illustrative 
of legendary or historic lore, and notably on the Japanese fans, now 
so fashionably common among us, the noble hero, the chivalrous 
knight, or the doughty warrior, is delineated with oblique eyes, high 
eyebrows, rounded nose, oval face, and smooth skin ; while the peas- 
ant, boor, vanquished ruffian, or general scape-goat, is invariably a man 
of round, flat face, upturned and depressed nose, gaping nostrils, hori- 
zontal eyes, and low eyebrows. In painting the faces of actors, sing- 
ing-girls, and those public characters who, though the popular idols, 
are of low birth and blood, the fan-artist exaggerates the marks of 
beauty to the delight of his native, and to the disgust of his foreign, 
patrons. What depreciates the value of his wares in the eyes of the 
latter enhances it in those of the natives. 

All savages worship heroes, and look upon their conquerors, who 
have been able apparently to overcome not only themselves, but even 
the gods in whom they trusted, if not as gods themselves, at least as 
imbued with divine power. The Ainos of Yezo to this day adore the 
warrior Yoshitsune. Their fathers doubtless considered Jimmu and 


his followers as gods or men divinely assisted. The conquerors were 
not slow in cultivating such a belief for their own benefit, and thus 
what was once the fancy of savages became the dogma of religion 
and the tool of the magistrate. The reverence and obedience of the 
people were still further secured by making the government pure- 
ly theocratic, and its general procedure and ceremonial identical with 
those of worship. The forms of local authority among the once 
independent tribes were but little interfered with, and the govern- 
ment exercised over them consisted at first chiefly in the exaction 
of tribute. The floating legends, local traditions, and religious ideas 
of the aborigines, gathered up, amplified by the dominant race, trans- 
formed and made coherent by the dogmatics of a theocracy, became 
the basis of Shinto, upon which a modified Chinese cosmogony and 
abstract philosophical ideas were afterward grafted. It was this back- 
ground that has made the resultant form of Shinto different from 
what is most probably its prototype, the ante-Confucian Chinese re- 
ligion. In its origin, Shinto is from the main -land of Asia. In 
growth and development it is " a genuine product of Japanese soil." 
As yet, before the advent of Buddhism and Chinese philosophy, 
there were no moral codes, no systems of abstract doctrines, no 
priestly caste. These were all later developments. There were then 
no colossal temples with their great belfries and immense bells whose 
notes quivered the air into leagues of liquid melody ; no sacred court- 
yards decked with palm-trees; no costly shrines decked out in the 
gaudy magnificence characteristic of Buddhism, or impure Shinto. 
No extensive monasteries, from which floated on the breeze the chant- 
ing of priests or the droning hum of students, were then built. No 
crimson pagodas peeped out from camphor groves, or cordons of fire- 
warding firs and keyaki-trees. No splendid vestments, gorgeous ritual, 
waves of incense, blazing lights, antiphonal responses, were seen or 
heard in the thatched huts which served as shrines of the kami. No 
idols decked the altars. No wayside images dotted the mountain or 
the meadow paths. No huge portals (torii) of stone or red-lacquered 
timber stood fronting or opening the path to holy edifices. 

On the hill-top, or river-side, or forest grove, the people assembled 
when invocations were offered and thanksgiving rendered to the gods. 
Confession of sin was made, and the wrath of the kami, therefore, was 
deprecated. The priest, after fasting and lustrations, purified himself 
and, robed in white, made offerings of the fruits of the earth or the 
trophies of the net and the chase. 



At the court, a shrine of the Sun-goddess had been set up and sac- 
rifices offered. Gradually in the towns and villages similar shrines 
were erected, and temples built; but for long centuries among the 
mountains, along the rivers and sea-coasts, the child of the soil set up 
his fetich, made the water-worn stone, the gnarled tree, or the storm- 
cloud his god. Wherever evil was supposed to lurk, or malignity re- 
side, there were the emblems of the Aino religion. On precipice, in 
gorge, in that primeval landscape, stood the plume of curled shavings 
to ward off the evil influences. In agony of terror in presence of the 

Shinto Wayside Shrine in Modern Japau. 

awful phenomenon of nature, earthquake, typhoon, flood, or tidal wave, 
the savage could but supplicate deified Nature to cease from wrath 
and tumult, and restore her face in peace of sunshine and calm. 

The houses of the ancient Japanese were oblong huts, made by 
placing poles of young trees, with the bark on, upright in the ground, 
with transverse poles to make the frame, and fastened together with 
ropes made of rushes or vines. The walls were of matted grass, 
boughs, or rushes, the rafters of bamboo, and the sloping roof of 
grass-thatch, fastened down by heavy ridge-poles. The two larger 
rafters at each end projected and crossed each other, like two bayonets 


in a stack of guns. Across the ridge-pole, and beneath it and anoth- 
er heavy tree laid lengthwise on top of the thatch, projected at right 
angles on either side short, heavy logs, which by their weight, and 
from being firmly bound by withes running under the ridge-pole, 
kept the thatch firmly in its place. This primeval hut is the model 
of the architecture of a pure Shinto temple. A short study of one 
easily reveals the fact. The floor, of hardened earth, had the fire in 
the centre ; the doors and windows were holes covered at times with 
mats in short, the Aino hut of to-day. The modern Japanese dwell- 
ing is simply an improvement upon that ancient model. 

The clothing of that period consisted of skins of animals, coarsely 
woven stuff of straw, grass, bark, palm-fibre, and in some cases of 
asbestos. Silk and cotton fabrics were of later invention and use. 
It is evident, even from modern proof, as exhibited in the normal 
Japanese of to-day, that the wearing of many garments was not con- 
genial to the ancient people. As for straw and grass, these materials 
are even now universally used in town and country for hats, rain-coats, 
leggings, sandals, and a great variety of wearing apparel. A long 
loose garment, with the breech, or loin-cloth, and girdle, leggings, and 
sandals of straw, comprised a suit of ancient Japanese clothing. The 
food of the people consisted chiefly of fish, roots, and the flesh of ani- 
mals. They ate venison, bear-meat, and other flesh, with untroubled 
consciences, until Buddhism came with its injunctions. The conquer- 
ors evidently brought cereals with them, and taught their cultivation ; 
but the main reliance of the masses was upon the spoils of the rivers 
and sea. Even now the great centres and lines of the population are 
rivers and the sea-coast. Roots, sea-weed, and edible wild vegetables 
were, as at present, an important portion of native diet. 

The landscape of modern Japan is one of minute prettiness. It is 
one continued succession of mountains and valleys. The irregularities 
of the surface render it picturesque, and the labors of centuries have 
brought almost every inch of the cultivable soil in the populous dis- 
tricts into a state of high agricultural finish. The peasant of to-day 
is in many cases the direct descendant of the man who first plunged 
mattock and hoe into the rooty soil, and led the water from a distance 
of miles to his new-made fields. The gullies, gorges, and valleys are 
everywhere terraced for the growth of rice. Millions of irrigated 
fields without fences or live-stock, bounded by water-courses, and ani- 
mate with unharmed and harmless wild -fowl, the snowy heron, and 
the crane, and whose fertility astonishes the stranger, and the elaborate 



system of reservoirs, ditches, and flumes, are the harvest of twenty 
centuries of toil. The face of nature 
has been smoothed ; the unkempt lux- 
uriance of forest and undergrowth has 
been sobered; the courses of rivers 
have been bridled ; the once inaccess- 
ible sides of mountains graded, and 
their summits crossed by the paths 
of the traveler or pilgrim. The earth 
has been honey-combed by miners in 
quest of its metallic wealth. 

In the primeval landscape of Japan 
there were no meadows, hedges, cat- 
tle, horses, prairies of ripening rice, 
irrigated fields, and terraced gulches. 
Then also, as now, the landscape was 
nude of domestic animal life. Instead 

Of castled cities, fortified hills, gar- The Peasant of To-day. (Carrying Home 

the Sheaves of Rice.) Hokusai. 
dens, and hedges, were only thatched 

villages, or semi-subterranean huts. There were no roads, no dikes. 
No water -courses had been altered, no slopes or hills denuded of 
timber. The plethora of nature was unpruned; the scrub bamboo, 
wild flowers, or grass covered the hills. The great plains of the 
East and North were luxuriant moors, covered with grass, reeds, or 
bamboo, populous with wild animal life. No laden junks moved up 
the rivers. The mulberry and tea plantations had not yet been set 
out. The conquerors found a virgin soil and a land of enrapturing 
beauty. They brought with them, doubtless, a knowledge of agricul- 
ture and metals. Gradually the face of nature changed. The hunter 
became a farmer. The women learned to spin and weave cotton and 
hemp. Division of labor began. The artisan and merchant appear- 
ed. Arts, sciences, skilled agriculture, changed the face of the land. 
Society emerged from its savage state, and civilization began. 

As yet there was no writing. All communications were oral, all 
teachings handed down from father to son. Memory was the only 
treasury of thought. There is, indeed, shown in Japan at the present 
day a so-called ancient Japanese alphabet the kami, or god, letters 
which it is asserted the ancient Japanese used. This assertion is 
voided of truth by the testimony of the best native scholars to the 
contrary. No books or ancient inscriptions exist in this character. I 


have myself sought in vain, in the grave-yards of Kioto and other an- 
cient places, to discover any of these characters upon the old tombs. 
The best authorities, scholars who have investigated the subject, pro- 
nounce the so-called god-letters a forgery, that reveals their artificial 
and modern character upon a slight examination. They consist al- 
most entirely of a system of straight lines and circles, which has, doubt- 
less, either been borrowed from Corea, or invented by some person in 
modern times. Yet the morning of literature had dawned before 
writing was known. Poems, odes to the gods, prayers, fragments of 
the Shinto liturgy, which still exist in the Kojiki and Nihongi, had 
been composed. From these fragments we may presume that a much 
larger unwritten literature existed, which was enjoyed by the men who, 
in those early days, by thought and reflection, attained to a certain de- 
gree of culture above their fellows. The early sovereigns worshiped 
the gods in person, and prayed that their people might enjoy a suf- 
ficiency of food, clothing, and shelter from the elements ; and twice 
a year, in the Sixth and Twelfth months, the people assembled at 
the river-side, and, by washings and prayer, celebrated the festival of 
General Purification, by which the whole nation was purged of of- 
fenses and pollutions. This was the most characteristic of Shinto 
festivals, and the liturgy used in celebrating it is still in vogue at the 
present day. Time was measured by the phases of the moon, and 
the summer and winter solstices. The division of months and years 
was in use. The ancient laws and punishments were exceedingly se- 
vere. Besides the wager of battle to decide a quarrel, the ordeal still 
in use among the Ainos was then availed of. The persons involved 
immersed their hands in boiling water. He whose hand was scald- 
ed most was the guilty one. The wholly innocent escaped without 
scath, or was so slightly injured that his hand rapidly healed. 

Japanese art had its birth in mercy, about the time of Christ's ad- 
vent on earth. A custom long adhered to among the noble classes 
was the burial of the living with the dead (jun-shi, dying with the 
master). The wife, and one or more servants, of the deceased lord 
committed suicide, and were inhumed with him. The mikado Suinin, 
son of Sujin, attempted (B.C. 2) to abolish the cruel rite by imperial 
edict. Yet the old fashion was not immediately abandoned. In A.D. 
3, the empress died. Nomi no Tsukune", a courtier, having made 
some clay images, succeeded in having these substituted for the living 
victims. This was the birth of Japanese art. Henceforth these first 
products of man's unfolding genius stood vicarious for the breathing 



beings they simulated. For this reform, the originator was given the 
honorable designation, Haji (ha, clay; ski, ji, teacher = clay - image 
teacher, or artist). 

The domestic life and morals of those days deserve notice. There 
were no family names. The institution of marriage, if such it may be 
called, was upon the same basis as that among the modern Ainos 
or North American Indians. Polygamy was common. Marriage be- 
tween those whom we consider brothers and sisters was frequent, and 
a thing not to be condemned. Children of the same fathers by dif- 
ferent mothers were not considered fraternally related to each other, 
and hence could marry ; but marriage between a brother and sister 
born of the same mother was prohibited as immoral. 

The annexed illustration is taken from a native work, and represents 
a chief or nobleman in ancient 
Japan. It will be noticed that 
beards and mustaches were 
worn in those days. The art- 
ist has depicted his subject 
with a well - wrinkled face to 
make him appear venerable, 
and with protruding cheeks to 
show his lusty physique, recall- 
ing the ideals of Chinese art, 
in which the men are always 
portly and massive, while the 
women are invariably frail and 
slender. His pose, expression, 
folded arms, and dress of fig- 
ured material (consisting of one 
long loose robe with flowing 
sleeves, and a second garment, 
like very wide trousers, girded 
at the waist with straps of the 
same material) are all to be 
seen, though in modified forms, 

in modern Japan. The fash- A Court Noble in Ancient Japan. (From a Na- 

ions of twenty centuries have tive Drawin s-> 

changed but slightly. Suspended from his girdle may be seen the 
magatama chatelaine, evidently symbolizing his rank. The magatama 
are perforated and polished pieces of soap-stone or cornelian, of various 
colors, shaped something like a curved seed-pod. They were strung 


together like beads. Other ornaments of this age were the kudatama, 
jewels of gold, silver, or iron. The ancient sword was a straight, 
double-edged blade, about three feet long. 

Buddhists and Confucianists assert that there existed no words in 
their language for benevolence, justice, propriety, sagacity, and truth. 
Doubtless these virtues existed, though not as necessary principles, to 
be taught, formulated, and incorporated into daily life. Chastity and 
restraint among the unmarried were not reckoned as necessary virtues ; 
and the most ancient Japanese literature, to say nothing of their 
mythology, proves that marriage was a flimsy bar against the excursions 
of irregular passion. Great feasts and drinking-bouts, in which ex- 
cessive eating was practiced, were common. They were fond of the 
chase, and hunting-parties were frequent from the most ancient times. 
Among the commendable features of their life were the habit of daily 
bathing and other methods of cleanliness. They treated their wom- 
en with comparative kindness and respect. They loved the beautiful 
in Nature, and seemed to have been ever susceptible to her charms. 
In brief, they had neither the virtues nor vices of high civilization. 

The arts were in the rudest state. Painting, carving, and sculpture 
were scarcely known. No theatre existed. Sacred dancing with masks, 
at the holy festivals, was practiced as part of the public worship, with 
music from both wind and stringed instruments. 

Until the seventh century of our era, when the Chinese centralized 
system was adopted, the government of the Japanese empire was a 
species of feudalism. The invaders, on conquering the land, divided 
it into fiefs that were held sometimes by direct followers of Jimmu, 
or by the original Aino chiefs, or nobles of mixed blood, on their 
rendition of homage or tribute to the conqueror. The frequent de- 
fection of these native or semi-Japanese chiefs was the cause of the 
numerous rebellions, the accounts of which enter so largely into the 
history of the first centuries of the empire. The mikado himself 
ruled over what is now called the Kinai, or Five Home Provinces, a 
space of country included between Lake Biwa and the bays of Ozaka 
and Owari. The provinces in Shikoku, Kiushiu, and the circuits 
west, north, and east, were ruled by tributary chiefs who paid homage 
to the mikado as their suzerain, but most probably allowed him to 
interfere to a slight extent in the details of the administration of 
their lands. In cases of dispute between them, the mikado doubtless 
acted as umpire, his geographical position, superior power, and the 
sacredness of person insuring his supremacy at all times, even in the 
height of turbulence and riot so often prevailing. 


In the ancient mikadoate, called by the Japanese the Osei era, or 
the government of monarchs, there were several features tending to 
increase the power of the suzerain, or central chief. The first was the 
essentially theocratic form of the government. The sovereign was 
the centre of that superstitious awe, as well as of loyalty and personal 
reverence, which still exists. There grew into being that prestige, 
that sense of hedging divinity and super-mortal supremacy of the 
mikado that still forms the most striking trait of the Japanese char- 
acter, and the mightiest political, as it is a great religious and moral, 
force in Japan, overshadowing even the tremendous power of Bud- 
dhism, which is, as Shinto is not, armed with the terrors of eternity. 
In both a theological and political sense, in him dwelt the fullness of 
the gods bodily. He was their hypostasis. He was not only their 
chosen servant, but was himself a god, and the vicegerent of all the 
gods. His celestial fathers had created the very ground on which 
they dwelt His wrath could destroy, his favor appease, celestial an- 
ger, and bring them fortune and prosperity. He was their preserver 
and benefactor. In his custody were the three sacred symbols. It 
was by superior intellect and the dogmatism of religion, as well as 
with superior valor, weapons, and skill, that a handful of invaders con- 
quered and kept a land populated by millions of savages. 

To the eye of a foreigner and a native of Japan, this imperfect pict- 
ure of primitive Japan which I have given appears in very different 
lights. The native who looks at this far-off morning of Great Japan, 
the Holy Country, sees his ancestors only through the atmosphere in 
which he has lived and breathed. The dim religious light of reverent 
teaching of mother, nurse, father, or book falls on every object to re- 
veal beauty and conceal defects. The rose-tints which innocent child- 
hood casts upon every object here makes all things lovely. Heaven 
lies about his country's infancy. The precepts of his religion make 
the story sacred, and forbid the prying eye and the sandaled foot. 
The native loves, with passionate devotion, the land that nursed his 
holy ancestors, and thrills at the oft-told story of their prowess and 
their holy lives. He makes them his model of conduct. 

The foreigner, in cold blood and with critical eye, patiently seeks 
the truth beneath, and, regarding not the dogma which claims to rest 
upon it, looks through dry light. To the one Nippon is the Land of 
the Gods, and the primal ages were holy. To the other, Japan is 
merely a geographical division of the earth, and its beginnings were 
from barbarism. 





THE ancient religion of the Japanese is called Kami no michi (way 
or doctrine of the gods ; i. e., theology). The Chinese form of the 
same is Shinto. Foreigners call it Shintoism, or Sintooism. Almost 
all the foreign writers* who have professed to treat of Shinto have 
described only the impure form which has resulted from the contact 
with it of Buddhism and Chinese philosophy, and as known to them 
since the sixteenth century. My purpose in this chapter is to give a 
mere outline of ancient Shinto in its purity. A sketch of its tradi- 
tional and doctrinal basis has been given. Only a very few Shinto 
temples, called miya, have preserved the ancient purity of the rites 
and dogmas during the overshadowing influences of Buddhism. 

In Japanese mythology the universe is Japan, the legends relating 
to Japan exclusively. All the deities, with perhaps a few exceptions, 
are historical personages ; and the conclusion of the whole matter of 
cosmogony and celestial genealogy is that the mikado is the descend- 
ant and representative of the gods who created the heavens and earth 
(Japan). Hence, the imperative duty of all Japanese is to obey him. 
Its principles, as summed up by the Department of Religion, and pro- 
mulgated throughout the empire so late as 1872, are expressed in the 
following commandments : 

1. " Thou shalt honor the Gods, and love thy country. 

2. "Thou shalt clearly understand the principles of Heaven and 
the duty of man. 

3. "Thou shalt revere the Mikado as thy sovereign, and obey the 
will of his court." 

* By far the best writing on Slants, based on profound researches, is the long 
article of Mr. Ernest Satow, entitled " The Revival of Pure Shinto," in the Japan 
Mail, 1874, and contained in the " Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Japan " 
for the same year. Also on "The Shinto Temples of Ise"," by the same writer. 
A scholarly article, by Mr. P. Kemperman, secretary to the German legation in 
Japan, was published in the Japan Mail of August 26th, 1874. 


The chief characteristic, which is preserved in various manifesta- 
tions, is the worship of ancestors, and the deification of emperors, he- 
roes, and scholars. The adoration of the personified forces of nature 
enters largely into it. It employs no idols, images, or effigies in its 
worship. Its symbols are the mirror and the gohei strips of notched 
white paper depending from a wand of wood. It teaches po doctrine 
of the immortality of the soul, though it is easy to see that such a 
dogma may be developed from it, since all men (Japanese) are de- 
scended from the immortal gods. The native derivation of the term 
for man is hito ("light -bearer"); and the ancient title of the mi- 
kado's heir-apparent was " light-inheritor." Fire and light (sun) have 
from earliest ages been the objects of veneration. 

Shinto has no moral code, no accurately defined system of ethics 
or belief. The leading principle of its adherents is imitation of the 
illustrious deeds of their ancestors, and they are to prove themselves 
worthy of their descent by the purity of their lives. A number of 
salient points in their mythology are recognized as maxims for their 
guidance. It expresses great detestation of all forms of uncleanness, 
and is remarkable for the fullness of its ceremonies for bodily purifi- 
cation. Birth and death are especially polluting. Anciently, the 
corpse and the lying-in woman were assigned to buildings set apart, 
which were afterward burned. The priest must bathe and don clean 
garments before officiating, and bind a slip of paper over his mouth, 
lest his breath should pollute the offerings. Many special festivals 
were observed for purification, the ground dedicated for the purpose 
being first sprinkled with salt. The house and ground were defiled 
by death, and those who attended a funeral must also free themselves 
from contamination by the use of salt. The anqient emperors and 
priests in the provinces performed the actual ablution of the people, 
or made public lustrations. Later on, twice a year, at the festivals of 
purification, paper figures representing the people were thrown into 
the river, allegorical of the cleansing of the nation from the sins of 
the past six months. Still later, the mikado deputized the chief min- 
ister of religion at Kioto to perform the symbolical act for the peo- 
ple of the whole country. 

After death, the members of a family in which death had occurred 
must exclude themselves from all intercourse with the world, attend 
no religious services, and, if in official position, do no work for a 
specified number of days. 

Thanksgiving, supplication, penance, and praise are all represented 


in the prayers to the gods, which are offered by both sexes. The em- 
peror and nobles often met in the temple gardens to compose hymns 
or sacred poems to the gods. Usually in prayer the hands are clap- 
ped twice, the head or the knees bowed, and the petition made in 
silence. The worshiper does not enter the temple, but stands before 
it,. and first pulls a rope dangling down over a double gong, like a 
huge sleigh-bell, with which he calls the attention of the deity. The 
kami are believed to hear the prayer when as yet but in thought, be- 
fore it rises to the lips. Not being intended for human ears, elo- 
quence is not needed. The mikado in his palace daily offers up peti- 
tions for all his people, which are more effectual than those of his sub- 
jects. Washing the hands and rinsing out the mouth, the worshiper 
repeats prayers, of which the following is an example : " O God, that 
dwellest in the high plain of heaven, who art divine in substance and 
in intellect, and able to give protection from guilt and its penalties, 
to banish impurity, and to cleanse us from uncleanness hosts of 
gods, give ear and listen to these our petitions." Or this : " I say with 
awe, deign to bless me by correcting the unwitting faults which, seen 
and heard by you, I have committed; by blowing off and clearing 
away the calamities which evil gods might inflict ; by causing me to 
live long, like the hard and lasting rock ; and by repeating to the 
gods of heavenly origin, and to the gods of earthly origin, the peti- 
tions which I present every day, along with your breath, that they 
may hear with the sharp-earedness of the forth-galloping colt." 

The offerings, most commonly laid with great ceremony by the 
priest, in white robes, before the gods, were fruit and vegetables in 
season, fish and venison. At night they were removed, and became 
the property of the priest. Game and fowls were offered up as an 
act of worship, but with the peculiarity that their lives were not sacri- 
ficed. They were hung up by the legs before the temple for some 
time, and then permitted to escape, and, being regarded as sacred to 
the gods, were exempt from harm. The new rice and the products 
furnished by the silk-worm and the cotton-plant were also dedicated. 

Before each temple stood a torii, or bird-rest. This was made of 
two upright tree-trunks. On the top of these rested a smoother tree, 
with ends slightly projecting, and underneath this a smaller horizontal 
beam. On this perched the fowls offered up to the gods, not as food, 
but as chanticleers to give notice of day-break. In later centuries the 
meaning of the torii was forgotten, and it was supposed to be a gate- 
way. The Buddhists attached tablets to its cross-beam, painted or 


coppered its posts, curved its top-piece, made it of stone or bronze, 
and otherwise altered its character. Resembling two crosses with 
their ends joined, the torii is a conspicuous object in the landscape, 
and a purely original work of Japanese architecture. 

All the miyas were characterized by rigid simplicity, constructed 
of pure wood, and thatched. No paint, lacquer, gilding, or any mer- 
etricious ornaments were ever allowed to adorn or defile the sacred 
structure, and the use of metal was avoided. Within, only the gofiei 
and the daily offerings were visible. Within a closet of purest wood 
is a case of wood containing the "august spirit-substitute," or "gods'- 
seed," in which the deity enshrined in the particular temple is be- 
lieved to reside. This spirit-substitute is usually a mirror, which in 
some temples is exposed to view. The principal Shinto temples are 
at Ise, in which the mirror given by Amaterasu to Ninigi, and brought 
down from heaven, was enshrined. Some native writers assert that 
the mirror was the goddess herself ; others, that it merely represented 
her. All others in Japan are imitations or copies of this original. 

The priests of Shinto are designated according to their rank. They 
are called kannushi (shrine-keepers). Sometimes they receive titles 
from the emperor, and the higher ranks of the priesthood are court 
nobles. They are, in the strictest sense of the word, Government offi- 
cials. The office of chief minister of religion was hereditary in the 
Nakatomi family. Ordinarily they dress like other people, but are 
robed in white when officiating, or in court -dress when at court. 
They marry, rear families, and do not shave their heads. The office 
is usually hereditary. Virgin priestesses also minister at the shrines. 

After all the research of foreign scholars who have examined the 
claims of Shinto on the soil, and by the aid of the language, and the 
sacred books and commentators, many hesitate to decide whether 
Shinto is " a genuine product of Japanese soil," or whether it is not 
closely allied with the ancient religion of China, which existed before 
the period of Confucius. The weight of opinion inclines to the latter 
belief. Certain it is that many of the Japanese myths are almost ex- 
actly like those of China, while many parts of the cosmogony can be 
found unaltered in older Chinese works. The Kojiki (the Bible of 
the Japanese believers in Shinto) is full of narrations ; but it lays 
down no precepts, teaches no morals or doctrines, prescribes no ritual. 
Shinto has very few of the characteristics of a religion, as understood 
by us. The most learned native commentators and exponents of Shin- 
to expressly maintain the view, that Shinto has no moral code. Mo- 


toori, the great modern revivalist of Shinto, teaches, with polemic em- 
phasis, that morals were invented by the Chinese because they were 
an immoral people ; but in Japan there was no necessity for any sys- 
tem of morals, as every Japanese acted aright if he only consulted his 
own heart The duty of a good Japanese consists in obeying the 
commands of the mikado without questioning whether these com- 
mands are right or wrong. It was only immoral people, like the 
Chinese, who presumed to discuss the character of their sovereigns. 
Among the ancient Japanese, government and religion were the same.* 

* In this chapter, I have carefully endeavored to exclude mere opinions and 
conjectures, and to give the facts only. I append below the views held by gen- 
tlemen of cosmopolitan culture, and earnest students of Shinto on the soil, whose 
researches and candor entitle them to be heard. 

" Shinto, as expounded by Motoori, is nothing else than an engine for reducing 
the people to a condition of mental slavery." ERNEST SATOW, English, the fore- 
most living Japanese scholar, and a special student of Shinto. 

" There is good evidence that Shinto resembles very closely the ancient religion 
of the Chinese." "A distinction should be drawn between the Shinto of ancient 
times and the doctrine as developed by writers at the court of the mikado in 
modern times." "The sword and dragon, the thyrsus staff and ivy, the staff of 
/K#culapius and snakes, most probably had the same significance as the Japanese 
gohei; and, as Siebold has remarked, it symbolized the union of the two elements, 
male and female. The history of the creation of the world, as given by the Japa- 
nese, bore the closest resemblance to the myths of China and India; while little 
doubt existed that these (symbol and myth) were imported from the West, the 
difficulty being to fix the date. Little was known of Shinto that might give it 
the character of a religion as understood by Western nations." J. A. VON BRANDT, 
German, late minister of the German empire to Japan, and now to Peking, a student of 
Japanese archaology, and founder of the German Asiatic Society of Japan. 

" Japanese, in general, are at a loss to describe what Shinto is ; but this cir- 
cumstance is intelligible if what was once an indigenous faith had been turned, 
in later days, into a political engine." " Infallibility on the part of the head of 
the state, which was naturally attributed to rulers claiming divine descent, was 
a convenient doctrine for political purposes in China or Japan, as elsewhere." 
" We must look to early times for the meaning of Shinto." " Its origin is close- 
ly allied to the early religion of the Chinese." "The practice of putting up 
sticks with shavings or paper attached, in order to attract the attention of the 
spirits, is observable among certain hill tribes of India, as well as among the Ainos 
of Yezo. The Hindoos, Burmese, and Chinese have converted these sticks into 
flags, or streamers." " If Shinto had ever worked great results, or had taken 
deep hold on the Japanese people, it would scarcely have been superseded so 
completely as it had been by Buddhism." Sir HARRY S. PARKES, British minister 
plenipotentiary in Japan, a fine scholar, and long resident in both China and Japan. 

"The leading idea of Shinto is a reverential feeling toward the dead." "As to 
the political use of it, the state is quite right in turning it to account in support 
of the absolute government which exists in Japan." " The early records of Ja- 
pan are by no means reliable." ARINORI MORI, Japanese, formerly charge d'af- 
faires of Japan at Washington, U. S. A., now Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japan. 




FROM the beginning of the Japanese empire, until the century aft- 
er the introduction of Buddhism, the mikados were the real rulers of 
their people, having no hedge of division between them and their 
subjects. The palace was not secluded from the outer world. No 
screen hid the face of the monarch from the gaze of his subjects. 
No bureauocracy rose, like a wall of division, between ruler and ruled. 
No hedge or net of officialdom hindered free passage of remonstrance 
or petition. The mikado, active in word and deed, was a real ruler, 
leading his armies, directing his Government. Those early days of 
comparative national poverty when the mikado was the warrior-chief 
of a conquering tribe ; and, later, when he ruled a little kingdom in 
Central Japan, holding the distant portions of his quasi -empire in 
tribute ; and, still later, when he was the head of an undivided em- 
pire mark the era of his personal importance and energy. Then, in 
the mikado dwelt a manly soul, and a strong mind in a strong body. 
This era was the golden age of the imperial power. He was the true 
executive of the nation, initiating and carrying out the enterprises of 
peace or war. As yet, no military class had arisen to make themselves 
the arbiters of the throne ; as yet, that throne was under no proprie- 
torship ; as yet, there was but one capital and centre of authority. 

Gradually, however, there arose families of nobility who shared and 
dictated the power, and developed the two official castes of civilian 
and military officials, widening the distance between the sovereign and 
his subjects, and rendering him more and more inaccessible to his 
people. Then followed in succession the decay of his power, the cre- 
ation of a dual system of government, with two capitals and centres 
of authority ; the domination of the military classes ; the centuries of 
anarchy ; the progress of feudalism ; the rending of the empire into 
hundreds of petty provinces, baronies, and feudal tenures. Within 
the time of European knowledge of Japan, true national unity has 
scarcely been known. The political system has been ever in a state 


of unstable equilibrium, and the nation but a conglomeration of units, 
in which the forces of repulsion ever threatened to overcome the forces 
of cohesion. Two rulers in two capitals gave to foreigners the im- 
pression that there were two "emperors" in Japan an idea that has 
been incorporated into most of the text -books and cyclopedias of 
Christendom. Let it be clearly understood, however, that there never 
was but one emperor in Japan, the mikado, who is and always was 

The Mikado on bis Throne. Time, from the Seventh to the Twelfth Century. 

the only sovereign, though his measure of power has been very dif- 
ferent at various times. Until the rise and domination of the milita- 
ry classes, he was in fact, as well as by law, supreme. How the mi- 
kado's actual power ebbed away shall form the subject of this and the 
following chapter. 

From the death of Nintoku Tenno, the last of the long-lived mika- 
dos, to Kimmei (540-571), in whose time continental civilization was 
introduced, a period of one hundred and forty-one years, fourteen em- 
perors ruled, averaging a little over ten years each. From Kimmei 


to Gotoba (A.D. 1198) fifty-three emperors reigned, averaging eleven 
years each. (See list of emperors, p. 123.) 

In A.D. 603, the first attempt to create orders of nobility for the 
nobles, already numerously existing, was made by the Empress Suiko. 
Twelve orders were instituted, with symbolic names, after the Chinese 
custom such as Virtue, Humanity, Propriety, etc. distinguished 
by the colors of the caps worn. In 649, this system was changed for 
that having nine ranks, with two divisions. In each of the last six 
were two subdivisions, thus in reality making thirty grades. The first 
grade was a posthumous reward, given only to those who in life had 
held the second. Every officer, from the prime minister to the offi- 
cial clerks, had a rank attached to his office, which was independent 
of birth or age. All officers were presented, and all questions of pre- 
cedence were settled, in accordance with this rank. 

The court officials, at first, had been very few, as might be imagined 
in this simple state of society without writing. The Jin Gi Kuan, 
which had existed from very ancient times, supervised the ceremonies 
of religion, the positions being chiefly held by members of the Naka- 
tomi family. This was the highest division of the Government. In 
A.D. 603, with the introduction of orders of nobility, the form of gov- 
ernment was changed from simple feudalism to centralized monarchy, 
with eight ministries, or departments of state, as follows : 

1. Nakatsukasa no Sho (Department of the Imperial Palace). 

2. Shiki bu Sho (Department of Civil Office and Education). 

3. Ji bu Sho (Department of Etiquette and Ceremonies). 

4. Mini bu Sho (Department of Revenue and Census). 

5. Hio bu Sho (Department of War). 

6. Gio bu Sho (Department of Justice). 

7. kura Sho (Department of Treasury). 

8. Ku nai Sho (Department of Imperial Household). 

The Jin Gi Kuan (Council of Religion ; literally, Council of the Gods 
of Heaven and Earth), though anciently outranking the Dai Jo Kuan 
(Great Government Council), lost its prestige after the introduction 
of Buddhism. The Dai Jo Kuan, created A.D. 786, superintended the 
eight boards and ruled the empire by means of local governors ap- 
pointed from the capital. In it were four ministers : 

1. Dai Jo Dai Jin (Great Minister of the Great Government). 

2. Sa Dai Jin (Great Minister of the Left). 

3. U Dai Jin (Great Minister of the Right). 

4. Nai Dai Jin (Inner Great Minister). 


Of the eight departments, that of War ultimately became the most 
important. A special department was necessary to attend to the pub- 
lic manners and forms of society, etiquette being more than morals, 
and equal to literary education. The foreign relations of the empire 
were then of so little importance that they were assigned to a bureau 
of the above department. The treasury consisted of imperial store- 
houses and granaries, as money was not then in general use. Rice 
was the standard of value, and all taxes were paid in this grain. 

The introduction of these orders of nobility and departments of 
state from China brought about the change from the species of feu- 
dalism hitherto existing to centralized monarchy, the rise of the noble 
families, and the fixing of official castes composed, not, as in most 
ancient countries, of the priestly and warrior classes, but, as in China, 
of the civilian and military. 

The seeds of the mediaeval and modern complex feudalism, which 
lasted until 1872, were planted about this time. A division of all 
the able-bodied males into three classes was now made, one of which 
was to consist of regular soldiers permanently in service. This was 
the " military class," from which the legions kept as garrisons in the 
remote provinces were recruited. The unit of combination was the 
go, consisting of five men. Two go formed a kua, five kua a tai, 
two tai a rid, ten rid a dan. These terms may be translated " file," 
" squad," " company," " battalion," " regiment." The dan, or regi- 
ment, could also be regularly divided into four detachments. The 
generals who commanded the army in the field were in many cases 
civil officials, who were more or less conversant with the rude military 
science of the day. In their time, success in war depended more on 
disciplined numbers and personal valor, and was not so much a prob- 
lem of weight, mathematics, machinery, and money as in our day. 
The expeditions were led by a shogun, or general, who, if he com- 
manded three regiments, was called a tai -shogun, or generalissimo. 
The vice-commanders were called fuku-shogun. Thus it will be seen 
that the term " shogun " is merely the Japanese word for " general." 
All generals were shoguns, and even the effete figure-head of the great 
usurpation at Yedo, with whom Commodore Perry and those who fol- 
lowed him made treaties, supposing him to be the " secular emperor," 
was nothing more. 

Muster-rolls were kept of the number of men in the two remaining 
classes that could be sent in the field on an emergency ; and whenever 
an insurrection broke out, and a military expedition was determined 


upon, orders were sent to the provinces along the line of march to be 
ready to obey the imperial command, and compare the quota required 
with the local muster-rolls. An army would thus be quickly assem- 
bled at the capital, or, starting thence, could be re-enforced on the 
route to the rebellious province. All that was necessary were the or- 
ders of the emperor. When war was over, the army was dissolved, 
and the army corps, regiments, and companies were mustered out of 
service into their units of combination, go of five men. The general, 
doffing helmet, made his votive offering to the gods, and returned to 
garrison duty. 

Until about the twelfth century, the Japanese empire, like the old 
Roman, was a centre of civilization surrounded by barbarism, or, rath- 
er, like a wave advancing ever farther northward. The numerous re- 
volts in Kiushiu, Shikoku, and even in the North and East of Hondo, 
show that the subjugation of these provinces was by no means com- 
plete on their first pacification. The Kuanto needed continual mili- 
tary care, as well as civil government; while the northern provinces 
were in a chronic state of riot and disorder, being now peaceful and 
loyally obedient, and anon in rebellion against the mikado. To keep 
the remote provinces in order, to defend their boundaries, and to col- 
lect tribute, military occupation became a necessity ; and, accordingly, 
in each of the distant provinces, especially those next to the frontier, 
beyond which were the still unconquered savages, an army was per- 
manently encamped. This, in the remote provinces, was the perma- 
nent military force. Throughout the country was a reserve militia, 
or latent army ; and in the capital was the regular army, consisting 
of the generals and " the Six Guards," or household troops, who form- 
ed the regular garrison of Kioto in peace, and in war became the nu- 
cleus of the army of chastisement. 

This system worked well at first, but time showed its defects, and 
wherein it could be improved. Among that third of the population 
classed as soldiers, some naturally proved themselves brave, apt, and 
skillful; others were worthless in war, while in the remaining two- 
thirds many who were able and willing could not enter the army. 
About the end of the eighth century a reform was instituted, and a 
new division of the people made. The court decided that all those 
among the rich peasants who had capacity, and were skilled in arch- 
ery and horsemanship, should compose the military class, and that the 
remainder, the weak and feeble, should continue to till the soil and 
apply themselves to agriculture. The above was one of the most sig- 



nificant of all the changes in the history of Japan. Its fruits are seen 
to-day in the social constitution of the Japanese people. Though 
there are many classes, there are but two great divisions of the Japa- 
nese, the military and the agricultural. It wrought the complete sev- 
erance of the soldier and the fanner. It lifted up one part of the peo- 
ple to a plane of life on which travel, adventure, the profession and 
the pursuit of arms, letters, and the cultivation of honor and chivalry 

were possible, and by which 
that brightest type of the 
Japanese man, the samurai, 
was produced. This is the 
class which for centuries has 
monopolized arms, polite learn- 
ing, patriotism, and intellect 
of Japan. They are the men 
whose minds have been ever 
open to learn, from whom 
sprung the ideas that once 
made, and which later over- 
threw, the feudal system,which 
wrought the mighty reforms 
that swept away the shogunate 
in 1868, restored the mikado 
to ancient power, who intro- 
duced those ideas that now 
J rule Japan, and sent their sons 
=^~ abroad to study the civilization 

A Samurai, in Winter Traveling-dress. Q f the Wegt To the samurai 

Japan looks to-day for safety in war, and progress in peace. The 
samurai is the soul of the nation. In other lands the priestly and the 
military castes were formed. In Japan one and the same class held 
the sword and the pen liberal learning and secular culture. The 
other class the agricultural remained unchanged. Left to the soil 
to till it, to live and die upon it, the Japanese farmer has remained 
the same to-day as he was then. Like the wheat that for successive 
ages is planted as wheat, sprouts, beards, and fills as wheat, the peas- 
ant, with his horizon bounded by his rice-fields, his water-courses, or 
the timbered hills, his intellect laid away for safe -keeping in the 
priests' hands, is the son of the soil ; caring little who rules him, un- 
less he is taxed beyond the power of flesh and blood to bear, or an 



A Japanese Farmer. (Seed-beds of rice protected from the birds by strings and slips of 


overmeddlesome officialdom touches his land to transfer, sell, or re- 
divide it : then he rises as a rebel. In time of war, he is a disinter- 
ested and a passive spectator, and he does not fight. He changes 
masters with apparent unconcern. Amidst all the ferment of ideas 
induced by the contact of Western civilization with Asiatic within the 
last two decades, the farmer stolidly remains conservative : he knows 
not, nor cares to hear, of it, and hates it because of the heavier taxes 
it imposes upon him. 

* In the above sketch by Hokusai, the farmer, well advanced in life, bent and 
bald, is looking: dubiously over a piece of newly tilled land, perhaps just reclaim- 
ed, which he defends from the birds by the device of strings holding strips of 
thin wood and bamboo stretched from a pole. With his ever-present bath-towel 
and headkerchief on his shoulders, his pipe held behind him, he stands in medi- 
tative attitude, in his old rice-straw sandals, run down and out at the heels, his 
well-worn cotton coat, darned crosswise for durability and economy, wondering 
whether he will see a full crop before he dies, or whether he can pay his taxes, 
and fill his children's mouths with rice. The writing at side is a proverb which 
has two meanings: it may be read, "A new field gives a small crop," or "Hu- 
man life is but fifty years." In either case, it has pregnant significance to the 
farmer. The pathos and humor are irresistible to one who knows the life of 
these sons of toil. 


To support the military, a certain portion of rice was set apart per- 
manently as revenue, and given as wages to the soldiers. This is the 
origin of the pensions still enjoyed by the samurai, and the burden of 
the Government and people, which in 1876, after repeated reductions, 
amounts to nearly $20,000,000. 

Let us notice how the noble families originated. To this hour 
these same families, numbering one hundred and fifty -five in all, 
dwell in Tokio or Kioto, intensely proud of their high descent from 
the mikados and the heavenly gods, glorying in their pedigree more 
than the autochthons of Greece gloried in their native soil. The ex- 
istence of this feeling of superiority to all mankind among some of 
the highest officials under the present mikado's government has been 
the cause of bitter quarrels, leading almost to civil war. Under the 
altered circumstances of the national life since 1868, the officials of 
ancient lineage, either unable to conceal, or desirous of manifesting 
their pride of birth, have on various occasions stung to rage the ris- 
ing young men who have reached power by sheer force of merit. 
Between these self-made men, whose minds have been expanded by 
contact with the outer world, and the high nobles nursed in the at- 
mosphere of immemorial antiquity, and claiming descent from the 
gods, an estrangement that at times seems irreconcilable has grown. 
As the chasm between the forms and spirit of the past and the pres- 
ent widens, as the modern claims jostle the ancient traditions, as vig- 
orous parvenuism challenges effete antiquity, the difficulty of harmo- 
nizing these tendencies becomes apparent, adding another to the cat- 
alogue of problems awaiting solution in Japan. I have heard even 
high officers under the Government make the complaint I have indi- 
cated against their superiors; but I doubt not that native patience 
and patriotism will heal the wound, though the body politic must 
suffer long. 

The kuge, or court nobles, sprung from mikados. From the first, 
polygamy was common among both aborigines and conquerors. The 
emperor had his harem of many beauties who shared his couch. In 
very ancient times, as early, as Jimmu, it was the custom to choose 
one woman, called kogo, who was wife or empress in the sense of re- 
ceiving special honor, and of having her offspring most likely to suc- 
ceed to the throne. In addition to the wife, the mikado had twelve 
concubines, whose offspring might fill the throne in case of failure of 
issue by the wife. To guard still further against desinence, four fam- 
ilies of imperial descent were afterward set apart, from which an heir 


to the throne or a husband of the mikado's daughter might be sought 
In either case the chosen one became mikado. Only those sons, 
brothers, or grandsons of the sovereign, to whom the title was spe- 
cially granted by patent, were called princes of the blood. There 
were five grades of these. Surnames were anciently unknown in Ja- 
pan; individuals only having distinguishing appellatives. In 415, 
families were first distinguished by special names, usually after those 
of places. Younger sons of mikados took surnames and founded ca- 
det families. The most famous in the Japanese peerage are given 
below. By long custom it came to pass that each particular family 
held the monopoly of some one high office as its prerogative. The 
Nakatomi family was formerly charged with the ceremonies of Shinto, 
and religious offices became hereditary in that family. The Fujiwara 
(Wistaria meadow) family is the most illustrious in all Japan. It was 
founded by Kamatari, who was regent of the empire (A.D. 645-649), 
who was said to have been descended from Ame no ko yane no 
mikoto, the servant of the grandfather of Jimmu. The influence of 
this family on the destinies of Japan, and the prominent part it has 
played in history, will be fully seen. At present ninety-five of the 
one hundred and fifty -five families of kuge are of Fujiwara name and 
descent. The office of Kuambaku, or Regent, the highest to which a 
subject could attain, was held by members of this family exclusively. 
The Sugawara family, of which six families of kuge are descendants, 
is nearly as old as the Fujiwara. Its members have been noted for 
scholarship and learning, and as teachers and lecturers on religion. 

The Taira family was founded by Takamochi, great grandson of 
the Emperor Kuammu (A.D. 782-805), and became prominent as the 
great military vassals of the mikado. But five kuge families claim 
descent from the survivors. 

The Minamoto family was founded by Tsunemoto, grandson of 
the Emperor Seiwa (839-880). They were the rivals of the Taira. 
Seventeen families of kuge are descended from this old stock. The 
office of Sei-i Tai Shogun, or Barbarian-chastising Great General, was 
monopolized by the Minamoto, and, later, by other branches of the 
stock, named Ashikaga and Tokugawa. 

Though so many offices were created in the seventh century, the 
kuge were sufficiently numerous to fill them. The members of the 
Fujiwara family gradually absorbed the majority, until almost all of 
the important ones at court, and the governorships of many provinces, 
were filled by them. When vacancies occurred, no question was 


raised as to this or that man's fitness for the position : it was simply 
one of high descent, and a man of Fujiwara blood was sure to get the 
appointment, whether he had abilities or not. This family, in spite 
of its illustrious name and deeds, are to be credited with the forma- 
tion of a "ring" around the mikado, which his people could not 
break, and with the creation of one of the most accursed systems of 
nepotism ever seen in any country. Proceeding step by step, with 
craft and signal ability, they gradually obtained the administration of 
the government in the mikado's name. Formerly it had been the 
privilege of every subject to petition the sovereign. The Fujiwara 
ministers gradually assumed the right to open all such petitions, and 
decide upon them. They also secured the appointment of younger 
sons, brothers, nephews, and kinsmen to all the important positions. 
They based their hold on the throne itself by marrying their daugh- 
ters to the mikado, whose will was thus bent to their own designs. 
For centuries the empresses were chiefly of Fujiwara blood. In this 
way, having completely isolated the sovereign, they became the virtual 
rulers of the country and the proprietors of the throne, and dictated 
as to who should be made emperor. Every new office, as fast as cre- 
ated, was filled by them. In the year 888, the title of Kuambaku 
(literally, " the bolt inside the gate," but meaning " to represent to 
the mikado ") was first used and bestowed on a Fujiwara noble. The 
Kuambaku was the highest subject in the empire. He was regent 
during the minority of the emperor, or when an empress filled the 
throne. The office of Kuambaku, first filled by Fujiwara Mototsune, 
became hereditary in the family, thus making them all powerful. In 
time the Fujiwaras, who had increased to the proportions of a great 
clan, were divided into five branches called the Sekke, or Regent fam- 
ilies, named Konoye, Kujo, Nijo, Ichijo, and Takadzukasa. 

So long as the succession to the throne was so indefinite, and on 
such a wide basis, it was easy for this powerful family to choose the 
heir whenever the throne was empty, as it was in their power to make 
it empty when it so suited them, by compelling the mikado to abdicate. 

In A.D. 794 the capital was removed to Kioto, seven miles from 
Lake Biwa, and there permanently located. Before that time it was 
at Kashiwabara, at Nara,* or at some place in the Home Provinces 

* The ancient town of Nara, one of the most interesting in all Japan, lies about 
twenty miles due east of Ozaka, in Yamato. The town and neighborhood abound 
with antiquities, mikado's tombs, grand old temples, and colossal images of 
Buddha. Seven sovereigns, of whom four were females, ruled at Nara from A.D. 


(kinai) of Yamato, Yamashiro, or Settsu. So long as the course of 
empire was identified with that of a central military chief, who was 
the ruler of a few provinces and suzerain of tributaries, requiring him 
to be often in camp or on the march, government was by the sword 
rather than by the sceptre, and the permanent location of a capi- 
tal was unnecessary. As the area of dominion increased and became 
more settled the government business grew apace, in amount and 
complexity, and division of labor was imperative, and a permanent 
capital was of prime importance. The choice was most felicitous. 
The ancient city of Heianjo, seven miles south-west of the southern 
end of Lake Biwa, was chosen. The Japanese word meaning capital, 
or large city, is miako, of which kid or kioto is the Chinese equiva- 
lent. The name Heianjo soon fell into disuse, the people speaking of 
the city as the miako. Even this term gave way in popular usage to 
Kioto. Miako is now chiefly used in poetry, while the name most 
generally applied has been and is Kioto, the miako by excellence. 
Kioto remained the capital of Japan until 1 868, when the miako was 
removed to Yedo, which city having become the kid, was re-named 
Tokio, or Eastern capital. The name Yedo is no longer in use among 
the Japanese. No more eligible site could have been chosen for the 
purpose. Kioto lies not mathematically, but geographically and prac- 
tically in respect of the distribution of population and habitable area, 
in the centre of Japan. It is nearly in the middle of the narrowest 
neck of land between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. It 
lies at the foot, and stands like a gate between the great mountain 
ranges, diverging north and south, or east and west. Its situation at 
the base of the great central lake of Biwa, or Omi, forty miles from 
whose northern point is the harbor and sea-port of Tsuruga, makes it 

708-782. Their reigns were prosperous and glorious, and were distinguished for 
the cultivation of the arts, literature, and religion. Here, in 711, the Kojiki was 
written, and in 713, by orders of the imperial court, sent to all the governors of 
provinces ; a book, in sixty-six volumes, descriptive of the provinces, cities, mount- 
ains, rivers, valleys, and plains, plants,, birds, and quadrupeds, was begun, 
and finished in 1634. Only fragments of this fine work are now extant. In the 
period 708-715 copper was discovered. In 739, the colossal gilded copper image 
of Buddha, fifty-three feet high, was cast and set up. Many envoys from China, 
and Buddhist priests from Siam, India, and China, visited Nara, one of the lat- 
ter bringing a library of five thousand volumes of Buddhist literature. In 749 
it was forbidden by imperial edict to slaughter animals in Japan. A large col- 
lection of the personal and household articles in the possession of the mikados 
of the eighth century was exhibited at Nara in June, 1875, the inventories made 
at that ancient period being accessible for comparison. 


acccessible to the ships coining from the entire west coast and from 
Yezo. On the west and east the natural mountain roads and passes 
slope down and open toward it. Forty miles to the south are the 
great harbors lining the bay of Ozaka, the haven of all ships from 
northern or southern points of the eastern coast. Easy river com- 
munications connect Ozaka with Kioto. 

The rniako is beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole empire 
of Japan. The tone of reverential tenderness, of exulting joy, the 
sparkling of the eyes with which Japanese invariably speak of Kioto, 
witness to the fact of its natural beauty, its sacred and classic associa- 
tions, and its place in the affections of the people. The city stands 
on an elliptical plain walled in on all sides by evergreen hills and 
mountains, like the floor of a huge flattened crater no longer choked 
with lava, but mantled with flowers. On the south the river Kamo, 
and on the north, east, and west, flowing in crystal clearness, the afflu- 
ents of Kamo curve around the city, nearly encircle it, uniting at the 
south-west to form the Yodo River. Through the centre and in sev- 
eral of the streets the branches of the river flow, giving a feeling of 
grateful coolness in the heats of summer, and is the source of the 
cleanliness characteristic of Kioto. The streets run parallel and cross 
at right angles, and the whole plan of the city is excellent. The 
mikado's palace is situated in the north-eastern quarter. Art and 
nature are wedded in beauty. The monotony of the clean squares 
is broken by numerous groves, temples, monasteries, and cemeteries. 
On the mountain overlooking the city peep out pagodas and shrines. 
The hill-slopes blossom with gardens. The suburbs are places of de- 
light and loveliness. The blue Lake of Biwa,. the tea-plantations of 
Uji, the thousand chosen resorts of picnic groups in the adjacent 
shady hills, the resorts for ramblers, the leafy walks for the poet, the 
groves for the meditative student or the pious monk, the thousand 
historical and holy associations invest Kioto with an interest attaching 
to no other place in Japan. Here, or in its vicinity, have dwelt for 
seventeen centuries the mikados of Japan. 

As the children and descendants of the mikados increased at the 
capital there was formed the material for classes of nobility. It was 
to the interest of these nobles to cherish with pride their traditions 
of divine descent. Their studied exaltation of the mikado as their 
head was the natural consequence. The respect and deference of dis- 
tant tributary princes wishing to obtain and preserve favor at court 
served only to increase the honor of these nobles of the capital. The 


fealty of the distant princes was measured not only by their trib- 
ute and military assistance, but by their close conformity to the cus- 
toms of the miako, which naturally became the centre of learning and 

Previous to the era of Sujin, the observance of the time of begin- 
ning the new year, as well as the celebration of the sacred festivals to 
the gods, was not the same throughout the provinces. The acceptance 
of a uniform calendar promulgated from the capital was then, as now, 
a sign of loyalty of far greater significance than would appear to us 
at first sight. This was forcibly shown in Yokohama, as late as 1872, 
after the mikado had abolished the lunar, and ordered the use of 
the solar, or Gregorian, calendar in his dominions. The resident Chi- 
nese, in an incendiary document, which was audaciously posted on 
the gates of the Japanese magistrate's office, denounced the Japanese 
for having thus signified, by the adoption of the barbarians' time, 
that they had yielded themselves up to be the slaves of the " foreign 

The mikado has no family name. He needs none, because his 
dynasty never changes. Being above ordinary mortals, no name is 
necessary to distinguish him from men. He need be personally dis- 
tinguished only from the gods. When he dies, he will enter the 
company of the gods. He is deified under some name, with Tenno 
(son, or king, of heaven) affixed. It was not proper (until 1872, 
when the custom was abrogated) for ordinary people to pronounce 
the name of the living mikado aloud, or to write it in full : a stroke 
should be left out of each of the characters. 

Previous to the general use of Chinese writing, the mikados, about 
fifty in all, had long names ending in " mikoto," a term of respect equiv- 
alent to " augustness," and quite similar to those applied to the gods. 
These extremely long names, now so unmanageable to foreign, and 
even to modern native, tongues, gave place in popular use to the great- 
ly abbreviated Chinese equivalents. A complete calendar of the names 
of the gods and goddesses, mikados and empresses and heroes, was 
made out in Chinese characters. It is so much more convenient to 
use these, that I have inserted them in the text, even though to do so 
seems in many an instance an anachronism. The difference in learned 
length and thundering sound of the Japanese and the Chinese form 
of some of these names will be easily seen and fully appreciated after 
a glance, by the Occidental reader who is terrified at the uncouthness 
of both, or who fears to trust his vocal organs to attempt their pro- 


nunciation. Amaterasu 6 mikami becomes Ten Sho Dai Jin ; Oki- 
naga Tarashi Hime becomes Jingu Kogo. 

After the Chinese writing became fashionable, the term mikoto 
was dropped. The mikados after death received a different name 
from that used when living : thus Kan Yamato Iware hiko no mikoto 
became, posthumously, Jimmu Tenno. 

The Golden Age of the mikado's power ceased after the introduc- 
tion of Buddhism and the Chinese system of officialdom. The de- 
cadence of his personal power began, and steadily continued. Many 
of the high ministers at court became Buddhists, as well as the mi- 
kados. It now began to be a custom for the emperors to abdicate 
after short reigns, shave off their hair in token of renunciation of 
the world, become monks, and retire from active life, taking the title 
Ho-o (ho, law of Buddha; 6, mikado = cloistered emperor). During 
the eighth century, while priests were multiplying, and monasteries 
were everywhere being established, the court was the chief propaganda. 
The courtiers vied with each other in holy zeal and study of the sacred 
books of India, while the minds of the empresses and boy-emperors 
were occupied with schemes for the advancement of Buddhism. In 
741, the erection of two great temples, and of a seven-storied pagoda 
in each province, was ordered. The abdication after short reigns 
made the mikados mere puppets of the ministers and courtiers. In- 
stead of warriors braving discomforts of the camp, leading armies in 
battle, or fighting savages, the chief rulers of the empire abdicated, 
after short reigns, to retire into monasteries, or give themselves up to 
license. This evil state of affairs continued, until, in later centuries, 
effeminate men, steeped in sensual delights, or silly boys, who droned 
away their lives in empty pomp and idle luxury, or became the tools 
of monks, filled the throne. Meanwhile the administration of the 
empire from the capital declined, while the influence of the military 
classes increased. As the mikado's actual power grew weaker, his 
nominal importance increased. He was surrounded by a hedge of 
etiquette that secluded him from the outer world. He never appeared 
in public. His subjects, except his wife and concubines and highest 
ministers, never saw his face. He sat on a throne of mats behind a 
curtain. His feet were never allowed to touch the earth. When he 
went abroad in the city, he rode in a car closely curtained, and drawn 
by t bullocks. The relation of emperor and subject thus grew mythic- 
al, jand the way was paved for some bold usurper to seize the actual- 
ity of power, while the name remained sacred and inviolate. 




WITH rank, place, and power as the prizes, there were not want- 
ing rival contestants to dispute the monopoly of the Fujiwara. The 
prosperity and domineering pride of the scions of this ancient house, 
instead of overawing those of younger families that w,ere forming in 
the capital, served only as spurs to their pride and determination to 
share the highest gifts of the sovereign. It may be easily supposed 
that the Fujiwara did not attain the summit of their power without 
the sacrifice of many a rival aspirant. The looseness of the marriage 
tie, the intensity of ambition, the greatness of the prize the throne 
itself made the court ever the fruitful soil of intrigue, jealousies, 
proscription, and even the use of poison and the dagger. The fate 
of many a noble victim thus sacrificed on the altars of jealousy and 
revenge forms the subject of the most pathetic passages of the Jap- 
anese historians, and the tear-compelling scenes of the romance and 
the drama. The increase of families was the increase of feuds. Ar- 
rogance and pride were matched by craft and subtlety that finally led 
to quarrels which rent the nation, to civil war, and to the almost utter 
extinction of one of the great families. 

The Sugawara were the most ancient rivals of the Fujiwara. The 
most illustrious victim of court intrigue bearing this name was Suga- 
wara Michizan6. This polished courtier, the Beauclerc of his age, 
had, by the force of, his talents and learning, risen to the position of 
inner great minister. As a scholar, he ranked among the highest of 
his age. At different periods of his life he wrote, or compiled, from 
the oldest records various histories, some of which are still extant. 
His industry and ability did not, however, exempt him from the jeal- 
ous annoyances of the Fujiwara courtiers, who imbittered his life by 
poisoning the minds of the emperor and courtiers against him. One 
of them, Tokihira, secured an edict banishing him to Kiushiu. Here, 
in the horrors of poverty and exile, he endeavored to get a petition 
to the mikado, but failed to do so, and starved to death, on the 25th 


day of the Second month, 903. Michizane is now known by his 
posthumous name of Tenjin. Many temples have been erected in his 
honor, and students worship his spirit, as the patron god of letters 
and literature. Children at school pray to him that they may become 
good writers, and win success in study. Some of his descendants are 
still living. 

When Michizane died, the Sugawara were no longer to be dreaded 
as a rival family. Another brood were springing up, who were des- 
tined to become the most formidable rivals of the Fujiwara. More 
than a century before, one of the concubines, or extra wives, of the 
Emperor Kuammu had borne a son, who, having talents as well as im- 
perial blood, rose to be head of the Board of Civil Office, and master 
of court ceremonies an office similar to the lord high chamberlain 
of England.* To his grandson Takamochi was given the surname of 
Taira in 889 one hundred and one years before the banishment of 

The civil offices being already monopolized by the Fujiwara, the 
members of the family of Taira early showed a fondness and special 
fitness for military life, which, with their experience, made them most 
eligible to the commands of military expeditions. The Fujiwara had 
become wholly wedded to palace life, and preferred the ease and lux- 
ury of the court to the discomforts of the camp and the dangers of 
the battle-field. Hence the shoguns, or generals, were invariably ap- 
pointed among sons of the Taira or the Minamoto, both of which 
families became the military vassals of the crown. While the men 
led the armies, fought the foe, and returned in triumph, the mothers 
at home fired the minds of their sons with the recital of the deeds of 
their fathers. Thus bred to arms, inured to war, and living chiefly in 
the camp, a hardy race of warriors grew up and formed the military 
caste. So long as the Taira or Minamoto leaders were content with 
war and its glory, there was no reason for the Fujiwara to fear dan- 
ger from them as rivals at court. But in times of peace and inaction, 
the minds of these men of war longed to share in the spoils of peace ; 
or, having no more enemies -to conquer, their energies were turned 
against their fellows. The peculiar basis of the imperial succession 
opened an equally wide field for the play of female ambition ; and 

* Princes of the blood were eligible to the following offices : Minister of the 
imperial household, lord high chamberlain, minister of war, president of the 
censorate, and the governorships of K6dzuk6, Kadzusa, and Hitachi. The act- 
ual duties of the office were, however, performed by inferior officials. 


while Taira and Minamoto generals lusted after the high offices held 
by Fujiwara courtiers, Taira and Minamoto ladies aspired to become 
empresses, or at least imperial concubines, where they might, for the 
glory of their family, beard the dragon of power in his own den. 
They had so far increased in influence at court, that in 1008, the 
wife of the boy-emperor, Ichijo, was chosen from the house of Mi- 

The Minamoto family, or, as the Chinese characters express the 
name, Genji, was founded by Tsunemoto, the grandson of Seiwa 
(859-880) and son of the minister of war. His great-grandson Yori- 
yoshi became a shogun, and was sent to fight the Ainos ; and the 
half-breeds, or rebels of mixed Aino and Japanese blood, in the east 
and extreme north of Hondo. Yoriyoshi's son, Yoshiiye", followed 
his father in arms, and was likewise made a shogun. So terrible was 
Yoshiiy6 in battle that he was called Hachiman taro. The name Taro 
is given to the first-born son. Hachiman is the Buddhist form of 
Ojin, the deified son of Jingu Kogo, and the patron of warriors, or 
god of war. After long years of fighting, he completely tranquilized 
the provinces of the Kuanto. His great-grandson Yoshitomo* became 

* The family name (uji) precedes the personal, or what we call the baptismal 
or Christian name. Thus the full name of the boy Kotaro, son of Mr. Ota, 
would be Ota Kotaro. Family names nearly always have a topographical mean- 
ing, having been taken from names of streets, villages, districts, rivers, mount- 
ains, etc. The following are specimens, taken from the register of my students 
in the Imperial College in Tokio, many of whom are descendants of the illustri- 
ous personages mentioned in this book, or in Japanese history. The great bulk 
of the Samurai claim descent from less than a hundred original families: Plain- 
village, Crane-slope, Hill-village, Middle -mountain, Mountain -foot, Grove-en- 
trance, High-bridge, East-river, River-point, Garden-mountain, River-meadow, 
Pine-village, Great-tree, Pine-well, Shrine-promontory, Cherry-well, Cedar-bay, 
Lower-field, Stone-pine, Front-field, Bamboo-bridge, Large-island, Happy-field, 
Shrine-plain, Temple-island, Hand-island, North-village, etc., etc. It was not the 
custom to have godparents, or namesakes, in our sense of these words. Mid- 
dle names were not given or used, each person having but a family and a person- 
al name. Neither could there be a senior and junior of exactly the same name 
in the same family, as with us. The father usually bestowed on his son half of 
his name ; that is, he gave him one of the Chinese characters with which his own 
was written. Thus, Toriyoshi named his first-born son Yoshiiye", i. e., Yoshi 
(good) and iye (house or family). Yoshiiye' had six sons, named, respectively, 
Yoshimune', Yoshichika, Yoshikuni, Yoshitada, Yoshitoki, and Yoshitaka. The 
Taira nobles retained the mori in Tadamori, in their own personal names. Fe- 
male names were borrowed from those of beautiful and attractive objects or of 
auspicious omens, and were usually not changed at marriage or throughout life. 
Males made use during life of a number of appellations given them, or assumed 
on the occasions of birth, reaching adult age, official promotion, change of life ; 



the greatest rival of the Taira, and the father of Yoritomo, one of the 
ablest men in Japanese history. The star of Minamoto was in the 

Meanwhile the Taira shoguns, who had the military oversight of 
the South and West, achieved a succession of brilliant victories. As 
a reward for his services, the court bestowed the island of Tsushima 
on Tadamori, the head of the house. It being a time of peace, Ta- 
damori came to Kioto to live, and while at court had a liaison with 
one of the palace lady attendants, whom he afterward married. The 
fruit of this union was a son, who grew to be a man of stout physique. 
In boyhood he gave equal indications of his future greatness and his 

View in the Inland Sea. 

future arrogance. He wore unusually high clogs the Japanese equiv- 
alent for " riding a high horse." His fellows gave the strutting roist- 
erer the nickname of koheda ("high clogs"). Being the son of a 
soldier, he had abundant opportunity to display his valor. At this 

or on account of special events, entering a monastery, and after death. This cns- 
tom as a police measure, as well as for other reasons, was abolished in 1872. Oft- 
en a superior rewarded an inferior by bestowing upon him a new name, or by al- 
lowing him to incorporate one of the syllables expressed vividly to the eye by a 
Chinese character, of the superior's name. It was never the custom to name 
children after great men, as we do after our national heroes. Formerly the gen- 
itive particle no (of) was used; as Minamoto no Toritomo means Yoritomo of 
the Minamoto family. In 1872, the peasantry were allowed to have family as 
well as individual names. 


time the seas swarmed with pirates, who ravaged the coasts and were 
the scourge of Corea as well as Japan. Kiyomori, a boy full of fire 
and energy, thirsting for fame, asked to be sent against the pirates. 
At the age of eighteen he cruised in the Sea of lyo, or the Suwo 
Nada, which is part of the Inland Sea, a sheet of water extremely 
beautiful in itself, and worthy, in a high degree, to be called the 
Mediterranean of Japan. While on shipboard, he made himself a 
name by attacking and capturing a ship full of the most desperate 
villains, and by destroying their lurking-place. His early manhood 
was spent alternately in the capital and in service in the South. In 
1153, at the age of thirty-six, he succeeded his father as minister of 
justice. The two families of Minamoto and Taira, who had together 
emerged from comparative obscurity to fame, place, and honor, had 
dwelt peacefully together in Kioto, or had been friendly rivals as sol- 
diers in a common cause on distant battle-fields, until the year 1156, 
from which time they became implacable enemies. In that year the 
first battle was fought between the adherents of two rival claimants 
of the throne. The Taira party was successful, and obtained posses- 
sion of the imperial palace, which gave them the supreme advantage 
and prestige which have ever since been possessed by the leader or 
party in whose hands the mikado is. The whole administration of 
the empire was now at Kiyomori's disposal. The emperor, who thus 
owed his elevation to the Taira, made them the executors of his poli- 
cy. This was the beginning of the domination of the military classes 
that lasted until 1868. The ambition of Kiyomori was now not only 
to advance himself to the highest position possible for a subject to 
occupy, but also to raise the influence and power of his family to the 
highest pitch. He further determined to exterminate the only rivals 
whom he feared the Minamoto. Not content with exercising the 
military power, he filled the offices at court with his own relatives, 
carrying the policy of nepotism to a point equal to that of his rivals, 
the Fujiwara, In 1167, at the age of thirty-six, having, by his ener- 
gy and cunning, made himself the military chief of the empire, hav- 
ing crushed not only the enemies of the imperial court, but also his 
own, and having tremendous influence with the emperor and court, 
he received the appointment of Dai Jo Dai Jin. 

Kiyomori was thus, virtually, the ruler of Japan. In all his meas- 
ures he was assisted, if not often instigated to originate them by the 
ex-emperor, Go - Shirakawa, who ascended the throne in 1156, and 
abdicated in 1159, but was the chief manager of affairs during the 



reigns of his son and two grandsons. This mikado was a very im- 
moral man, and the evident reason of his resigning was that he might 
abandon himself to debauchery, and wield even more actual power 
than when on the throne. In 1169, he abdicated, shaved off his hair, 
and took the title of Ho-d, or " cloistered emperor," and became a 
Buddhist monk, professing to retire from the world. In industrious 
seclusion, he granted the ranks and titles created by his predecessor 
in lavish profusion. He thus exercised, as a monk, even more influ- 
ence than when in actual office. The head of the Taira hesitated not 
to use all these rewards for his own and his family's private ends. 
In him several offices were held by one person. He argued that as 

View wear lliogo, from near the Site of the Taira Palace. 

others who had done no great services for court or emperor had 
held high offices, he who had done so much should get all he could. 
Finally, neither court nor emperor could control him, and he banished 
kuye, and even moved the capital and court at his pleasure. In 
1168, the power of the Taira- family was paramount. Sixty men of 
the house held high offices at court, and the lands from which they 
enjoyed revenue extended over thirty provinces. They had splendid 
palaces in KiSto and at Fukuwara, where the modern treaty-port of 
Hiogo now stands overlooking the splendid scenery of the Inland Sea. 
Hesitating at nothing that would add to his glory or power, Kiyo- 
mori, in 1171, imitating his predecessors, made his daughter the con- 



cubine, and afterward the wife, of the Emperor Takakura, a boy eleven 
years old. Of his children one was now empress, and his two sons 
were generals of highest rank. His cup of power was full. 

The fortunes of the Fujiwara and Minamoto were under hopeless 
eclipse, the former having no military power, the latter being scat- 
tered in exile. Yoshitomo, his rival, had been killed, while in his bath, 
by Osada, his own traitorous retainer, who was bribed by Kiyomori to 
do the deed. The head of Yoshitomo's eldest son had fallen under 
the sword at Kioto, and his younger sons the last of the Minamoto, 
as he supposed were in banishment, or immured in monasteries. 

4. . 

Tametomo defying the Taira men, after sinking their Ship. (From the vignette on 
the greenback national-bank notes, drawn by a native artist.) 

The most famous archer, Minamoto Tametomo, took part in many 
of the struggles of the two rival families. His great strength, equal 
to that of many men (fifty, according to the legends), and the fact 
that his right arm was shorter than his left, enabled him to draw a 
bow which four ordinary warriors could not bend, and send a shaft 
five feet long,- with enormous bolt -head. The court, influenced by 
the Taira, banished him, in a cage, to Idzu (after cutting the muscles 
of his arm), under a guard. He escaped, and fled to the islands of 
Oshima and Hachijo, and the chain south of the Bay of Yedo. His 
arm having healed, he ruled over the people, ordering them not to 
send tribute to Idzu or Kioto. A fleet of boats was sent against 
him. Tametomo, on the strand of Oshima, sped a shaft at one of the 


approaching vessels that pierced the thin gunwale and sunk it. He 
then, after a shout of defiance, shut himself up, set the house on fire, 
and killed himself. Another account declares that he fled to the Liu 
Kiu Islands, ruled over them, and founded the family of Liu Kiu 
kings, being the father of Sunten, the first historical ruler of this 
group of islands. A picture of this doughty warrior has been chosen 
to adorn the greenback currency of the banks of modern Japan. 

" Woe unto thee, O land, when thy king is a child !" The mika- 
dos* during the Taira period were nearly all children. Toba began 
to reign at six, abdicating at seventeen in behalf of his son Shiutoku, 
four years old ; who at twenty-four resigned in favor of Konoye, then 
four years old. The latter died at the age of sixteen, and was suc- 
ceeded by Go-Shirakawa, who abdicated after three years in favor of 
Nijo, sixteen years old, who died after six years, when Rokujo, one 
year old, succeeded. After three years, Takakura, eight years old, 
ruled thirteen years, resigning to Antoku, then three years of age. 
It is easily seen that the real power lay not with these boys and ba- 
bies, but with the august wire-pullers behind the throne. 

The ffeike Monogatari, or the " Historic Romance of the Taira," is 
one of the most popular of the many classic works of fiction read by 
all classes of people in Japan. In this book the chief events in the 
lives, and even the manners and personal appearance, of the principal 
actors of the times of the Taira are seen, so that they become more 
than shadows of names, and seem to live before us, men of yesterday. 
The terms Heike and G-enji, though Chinese forms of the names Taira 
and Minamoto, were, from their brevity, popularly used in preference 
to the pure native, but longer, forms of Taira and Minamoto. 

* For convenience of reference, the following chronological list of the sover- 
eigns of Japan is here appended. It is based on the list given in the Nihon Riya- 
ku Shi (Abridgment of Japanese History), Tokio, 1874 a book from which I have 
drawn freely in this work. The dates of their reigns, in terms of the Gregorian 
calendar, are obtained chiefly from a comparative almanac of Chinese, Japanese, 
and Western dates, compiled by a learned native scholar, who brings down this 
invaluable chronological harmony to the third day of the Twelfth month of Meiji 
(January 1st, 1874), when the solar- or Gregorian calendar was adopted in Japan. 
The year dates approximate to within a few weeks of exactness. The names in 
italics denote female sovereigns. In two instances (37 and 39, 48 and 50), one em- 
press reigned twice, and has two posthumous titles. I have put the name of 
Jingu K6g6 in the list, though the Dai Nihon Shi does not admit it, she having 
never been crowned or formally declared empress by investiture with the regalia 
of sovereignty. In several cases the duration of the reign was less than a year. 
The five "false emperors," printed in black spaces, are omitted from this list. 
Only the posthumous titles under which the mikados were apotheosized are here 



given, though their living names, and those of their parents, are printed in the 
Nihon Kiyaku Shi. Including Jingu, there were 123 sovereigns. The average 
length of the reigns of 122 was nearly twenty-one years. There has been but one 
dynasty in Japan. In comparison, the present emperor of China is the 273d, and 
the dynasty the 23d or 24th. 





Date iii'Ki-i>m. 



A (cent 

Date of Reign. 



660-685 B.O. 




047- 967 A. D. 




681-649 " 




968- 969 ' 




648-511 " 




970- 984 M 




610-477 " 



985- 9S6 ' 


Mi'- In"' 


475-393 " 




987-101 1 ' 




392-291 " 




1012-1016 ' 




290-216 " 




1017 1036 ' 




214-158 " 




1037 1046 ' 




157- 98 " 



1047 1068 ' 




97- 30 " 




1069 1072 ' 




29 D.O. to 70 A.U. 




1078-1086 ' 




71-130 " 




1087-1107 ' 


Sri lull 


131-191 " 




1108-1123 ' 




192-200 ' 




1124-1141 ' 


Tingu K6"6. 


201-209 ' 




1142 1155 ' 




270-310 ' 


Go-Shirnkn wa 


1156-1168 ' 




313-399 ' 




1169 1165 ' 




400-405 ' 




1166-1168 ' 




400-411 ' 




1169-1180 ' 




412-453 ' 




1181-1185 ' 








1184-1198 ' 






467-479 ' 
480-484 ' 




1199-1210 ' 
1211 1221 




485-487 " 




1222 1222 




488-498 " 




1222 1232 " 




499-506 " 




1233-1242 " 




607-531 " 




1243 1246 " 


An kaii 


634-635 " 


Go-Fukakusa. . . . 


1247 1289 " 




630-539 ' 


K an h vama 


1260-1274 " 




640-571 ' 




1275-1287 " 


Bidatsu .... 


672-585 ' 




1288-1293 " 








1299-1301 ' 




688-592 ' 




1302-1307 " 




593-628 ' 




1308-1318 " 




629-641 ' 




1319 1338 " 


Koqioku .... 


642-644 ' 




1339-1367 " 




645-654 ' 



1368-1383 " 




655-661 ' 
668-672 ' 


Go-Kamey atna 


1383-1392 " 
1393 1412 " 




672-672 ' 




1413-1428 " 




673-686 ' 




1429 1464 




690-696 ' 




1465-1600 " 




697-707 ' 
708-714 ' 




1501-1526 " 
1527-1557 " 




715-723 ' 


( ) k i ii i ;ic 1 1 i 


1558-1586 " 








1687 1611 " 








1612-1629 " 




759 764 ' 



1630-1643 " 



765-769 ' 




1644-1654 " 




770-T81 ' 


( ; i isa i 


1655-1662 " 




782-805 ' 




1663-16S6 " 




806-809 ' 



1687-1709 " 




810-823 ' 



1710-1735 " 


Nimmio .... 



824-833 ' 
834-850 ' 




1736-1746 " 
1747-1762 " 



Montoku . . . 



851-858 ' 
877-884 ' 


Go- Sakuramachi. . . 


1763-1770 " 
1771-1779 " 
1780-1816 " 








1817 1846 " 




888-897 ' 



1847 1866 " 




898-930 ' 



1867 " 


Shnjaku .... 


931-946 ' 




NEXT to portraying the beauties of nature, there is no class of sub- 
jects in which the native artists delight more than in the historical 
events related in their classics. Among these there are none treated 
with more frequency and spirit than the flight of Yoshitomo's concu- 
bine, Tokiwa, after the death of her lord at the hands of bribed trai- 
tors. After the fight with the Taira in Kioto, in 1159, he fled east- 
ward, and was killed in a bath-room by three hired assassins at Ut- 
sumi, in Owari. Tokiwa was a young peasant-girl of surpassing beau- 
ty, whom Yoshitomo had made his concubine, and who bore him three 
children. She fled, to escape the minions of Taira. Her flight was 
in winter, and snow lay on the ground. She knew neither where to 
go nor how to subsist ; but, clasping her babe to her bosom, her two 
little sons on her right, one holding his mother's hand, the other car- 
rying his father's sword, trudged on. That babe at her breast was 
Yoshitsune a name that awakens in the breast of a Japanese youth 
emotions that kindle his enthusiasm to emulate a character that was 
the mirror of chivalrous valor and knightly conduct, and that saddens 
him at the thought of one who suffered cruel death at the hands of 
a jealous brother. Yoshitsune, the youngest son of Yoshitomo, lives, 
and will live, immortal in the minds of Japanese youth as the Bayard 
of Japan. 

Kiyomori, intoxicated with success, conceived the plan of extermi- 
nating the Minamoto family root and branch. Not knowing where 
Tokiwa and her children had fled, he seized her mother, and had her 
brought to Kioto. In Japan,- as in China, filial piety is the highest 
duty of man, filial affection the strongest tie. Kiyomori well knew 
that Tokiwa's sense of a daughter's duty would prevail over that of 
a mother's love or womanly fear. He expected Tokiwa to come to 
Kioto to save her mother. 

Meanwhile the daughter, nearly frozen and half starved, was met in 
her flight by a Taira soldier, who, pitying her and her children, gave 


her shelter, and fed her with his own rations. Tokiwa heard of her 
mother's durance at Kioto. Then came the struggle between mater- 
nal and filial love. To enter the palace would be the salvation of her 
mother, but the death of her children. What should she do? Her 
wit showed her the way of escape. Her resolution was taken to go 
to the capital, and trust to her beauty to melt the heart of KiyomorL 
Thus she would save her mother and the lives of her sons. 

Her success was complete. Appearing in the presence of the 
dreaded enemy of her children, Kiyomori was dazed by her beauty, 
and wished to make her his concubine. At first she utterly refused ; 
but her mother, weeping floods of tears, represented to her the mis- 
ery of disobedience, and the happiness in store for her, and Tokiwa 
was obliged to yield. She consented on condition of his sparing her 

Kiyomori's retainers insisted that these young Minamotos should 
be put to death ; but by the pleadings of the beautiful mother, backed 
by the intercession of Kiyomori's aunt, their lives were spared. The 
babe grew to be a healthy, rosy-cheeked boy, small in stature, with a 
ruddy face and slightly protruding teeth. In spirit he was fiery and 
impetuous. All three of the boys, when grown, were sent to a monas- 
tery near Kioto, to be made priests : their fine black hair was shaved, 
and they put on the robes of Buddhist neophytes. Two of them re- 
mained so, but Yoshitsune gave little promise of becoming a grave 
and reverend bonze, who would honor his crape, and inspire respect 
by his bald crown and embroidered collar. He refused to have his 
hair shaved off, and in the monastery was irrepressibly merry, lively, 
and self-willed. The task of managing this young ox (Ushi-waka, he 
was then called) gave the holy brethren much trouble, and greatly 
scandalized their reverences. Yoshitsune, chafing at his dull life, 
and longing to take part in a more active one, and especially in the 
wars in the North, of which he could not but hear, determined to es- 
cape. How to do it was the question. 

Among the outside lay-folk who visited the monastery for trade 
or business was an iron-merchant, who made frequent journeys from 
Kioto to the north of Hondo. In those days, as now, the mines of 
Oshiu were celebrated for yielding the best iron for swords and other 
cutting implements. This iron, being smelted from the magnetic ox- 
ide and reduced by the use of charcoal as fuel, gave a steel of singular 
purity and temper which has never been rivaled in modern times. 

Yoshitsune begged the merchant to take him to Mutsu. He, be- 


ing afraid of offending the priest, would not at first consent. Yoshi- 
tsune persuaded him by saying that the priests would be only too 
glad to be rid of such a troublesome boy. The point was won, and 
Yoshitsune went off. The boy's surmises were correct. The priest 
thought it excellent riddance to very bad rubbish. 

While in the East, they stopped some time in Kadzusa, then infest- 
ed with robbers. Here Yoshitsune gave signal proof of his mettle. 
Among other exploits, he, on one occasion, single-handed and un- 
armed, seized a bold robber, and, on another, assisted a rich man to 
defend his house, killing five of the ruffians with his own hand. 
Yorishige, his companion and bosom-friend, begged him not to in- 
dulge in any unnecessary displays of courage, lest the Taira would 
surely hear of him, and know he was a Minamoto, and so destroy him. 
They finally reached their destination, and Yoshitsune was taken to 
live with Hidehira, a nobleman of the Fujiwara, who was prince of 
Mutsu. Here he grew to manhood, spending his time most conge- 
nially, in the chase, in manly sports, and in military exercises. At the 
age of twenty-one, he had won a reputation as a soldier of peerless 
valor and consummate skill, and the exponent of the loftiest code of 
Japanese chivalry. He became to Yoritomo, his brother, as Ney to 
Napoleon. Nor can the splendor of the marshal's courage outshine 
that of the young Japanese shogun's. 

Yoritomo, the third son of Yoshitomo, was born in the year 1146, 
and consequently was twelve years old when his brother Yoshitsune 
was a baby. After the defeat of his father, he, in the retreat, was 
separated from his companions, and finally fell into the hands of a 
Taira officer. On his way through a village called Awohaka, in Omi, a 
girl, the child of the daughter of the head-man whom Yoshitomo had 
once loved, hearing this, said, " I will follow my brother and die with 
him." Her people stopped her as she was about to follow Yoshitomo, 
but she afterward went out alone and drowned herself. The Taira 
officer brought his prize to Kioto, where his execution was ordered, 
and the day fixed ; but there, again, woman's tender heart and suppli- 
cations saved the life of one -destined for greater things. The boy's 
captor had asked him if he would like to live. He answered, " Yes ; 
both my father and brother are dead ; who but I can pray for their 
happiness in the next world ?" Struck by this filial answer, the officer 
went to Kiyomori's step-mother, who was a Buddhist nun, having be- 
come so after the death of her husband, Tadamori. Becoming inter- 
ested in him, her heart was deeply touched ; the chambers of her 


memory were unlocked when the officer said, " Yoritomo resembles 
Prince Uma." She had borne one son of great promise, on whom 
she had lavished her affection, and who had been named Uma. The 
mother's bosom heaved under the robes of the nun, and, pitying Yori- 
tomo, she resolved to entreat Kiyomori to spare him. After import- 
unate pleadings, the reluctant son yielded to his mother's prayer, but 
condemned the youth to distant exile a punishment one degree less 
than death, and Yoritomo was banished to the province of Idzu. He 
was advised by his former retainers to shave off his hair, enter a mon- 
astery, and become a priest ; but Morinaga, one of his faithful serv- 
ants, advised him to keep his hair, and with a brave heart await the 
future. Even the few that still called themselves vassals of Minamoto 
did not dare to hold any communication with him, as he was under 
the charge of two officers who were responsible to the Taira for the 
care of their ward. Yoritomo was a shrewd, self-reliant boy, gifted 
with high self-control, restraining his feelings so as to express neither 
joy nor grief nor anger in his face, patient, and capable of great en- 
durance, winning the love and respect of all. He was as "Prince 
Hal." He afterward became as " bluff King Harry," barring the lat- 
ter's bad eminence as a marrier of many wives. 

Such was the condition of the Minamoto family. No longer in 
power and place, with an empress and ministers at court, but scat- 
tered, in poverty and exile, their lives scarcely their own. Yoritomo 
was fortunate in his courtship and marriage, the story of which is one 
of great romantic interest.* His wife, Masago, is one of the many fe- 

* Yoritomo had inquired which of the daughters of Hojo Tokimasa was most 
beautiful. He was told the eldest was most noted for personal charms, but the 
second, the child of a second wife, was homely. Yoritomo, afraid of a step-moth- 
er's jealousy (though fearing neither spear nor sword), deemed it prudent to pay 
his addresses to the homely daughter, and thus win the mother's favor also. He 
sent her a letter by the hand of Morinaga, his retainer, who, however, thought 
his master's affection for the plain girl would not last; so he destroyed his mas- 
ter's letter, and, writing another one to Masago, the eldest, sent it to her. It so 
happened that on the previous night the homely daughter dreamed that a pigeon 
came to her, carrying a golden box in her beak. On awaking, she told her dream 
to her sister, who was so interested in it that, after eager consideration, she re- 
solved "to buy her sister's dream," and, as a price, gave her toilet mirror to her 
sister, saying, as the Japanese always do on similar occasions, " The price I pay 
is little." The homely sister, perhaps thinking some of Masago's beauty might 
be reflected to hers, gladly bartered her unsubstantial happiness. Scarcely had 
she done this, than Yoritomo's (Morinaga's) letter came, asking her to be his 
bride. It turned out to be a true love-match. Masago was then twenty-one 
years of age it being no ungallantry to state the age of a Japanese lady, living 


male characters famous in Japanese history. She contributed not a 
little to the success of her husband and the splendor of the Kamakura 
court, during her life, as wife and widow. She outlived her husband 
many years. Her father, Hojo Tokimasa, an able man, in whose veins 
ran imperial blood, made and fulfilled a solemn oath to assist Yori- 
tomo, and the Hojo family subsequently rose to be a leading one in 

The tyranny and insolence of Kiyomori at Kioto had by this time 
(1180), one year before his death, become so galling and outrageous 
that one of the royal princes, determining to kill the usurper, con- 
spired with the Minamoto men to overthrow him. Letters were sent 
to the clansmen, and especially to Yoritomo, who wrote to Yoshitsune 
and to his friends to join him and take up arms. Among the for- 
mer retainers of his father and grandfather were many members of the 
Miura family. Morinaga personally secured the fealty of many men 
of mark in the Kuanto ; but among those who refused to rise against 
the Taira was one, Tsunetoshi, who laughed scornfully, and said, 
"For an exile to plot against the Heishi [Taira] is like a mouse 
plotting against a cat." 

At the head of the peninsula of Idzu is a range of mountains, the 
outjutting spurs of the chain that trends upward to the table-lands of 
Shinano, and thus divides Eastern from Western Japan. This range 
is called Hakone, and is famous not only as classic ground in history, 
but also as a casket enshrining the choicest gems of nature. It is 
well known to the foreign residents, who resort hither in summer to 
enjoy the pure air of its altitudes. Its inspiring scenery embraces a 
lake of intensely cold pure water, and of great depth and elevation 
above the sea-level, groves of aromatic pines of colossal size, savage 
gorges, sublime mountain heights, overcrowned by cloud-excelling Fuji, 
foaming cataracts, and boiling springs of intermittent and rhythmic 
flow, surrounded by infernal vistas of melted sulphur enveloped in 
clouds of poisonous steam, or incrusted with myriad glistening crys- 
tals of the same mineral. Over these mountains there is a narrow 
pass, which is the key of the Kuanto. Near the pass, above the vil- 

or dead. Masago's father, on hia way home from Kioto, not knowing of the be- 
trothal of the young couple, promised Masago to Kane"taka, a Taira officer. On 
coming home, he would not break his word, and so married her to Kane'taka. 
But early on the wedding night Masago eloped with Yoritomo, who was at hand. 
Kane'taka searched in vain for the pair. Tokimasa outwardly professed to be 
very angry with Yoritomo, but really loved him. 


lage of Yumoto, is Ishi Bashi Yama (Stone-bridge Mountain), and 
here Yoritomo's second battle was fought, and his first defeat experi- 
enced. " Every time his bowstring twanged an enemy fell," but final- 
ly he was obliged to flee. He barely escaped with his life, and fort- 
unately eluded pursuit, secreting himself in a hollow log, having first 
sent his father-in-law to call out all his retainers and meet again. He 
afterward hid in the priest's wardrobe, in one of the rooms of a tem- 
ple. Finally, reaching the sea-shore, he took ship and sailed across 
the bay to Awa. "At this time the sea and land were covered with 
his enemies." Fortune favored the brave. Yoritoino, defeated, but 
not discouraged, while on the water met a company of soldiers, all 
equipped, belonging to the Miura clan, who became his friends, and 
offered to assist him. Landing in Awa, he sent out letters to all the 
Minamoto adherents to bring soldiers and join him. He met with 
encouraging and substantial response, for many hated Kiyomori and 
the Taira ; and as Yoritomo's father and grandfather had given pro- 
tection and secured quiet in the Kuanto, the prestige of the Minamoto 
party still remained. The local military chieftains had fought under 
Yoritomo's father, and were now glad to join the son of their old 
leader. He chose Kamakura as a place of retreat and permanent resi- 
dence, it having been an old seat of the Minamoto family. Yoriyoshi 
had, in 1063, built the shrine of Hachiman at Tsurugaoka, near the 
village, in gratitude for his victories. Yoritomo now organized his 
troops, appointed his officers, and made arrangements to establish a 
fixed commissariat. The latter was a comparatively easy thing to do 
in a fertile country covered with irrigated rice-fields and girdled with 
teeming seas, and where the daily food of soldier, as of laborer, was 
rice and fish. Marching up around the country at the head of the 
Bay of Yedo through Kadzusa, Shimosa, Musashi, and Sagami, cross- 
ing, on his way, the Sumida River, which flows through the modern 
Tokio, many men of rank, with their followers and horses, joined 
him. His father-in-law also brought an army from Kai. In a few 
months he had raised large forces, with many noted generals. He 
awakened new life in the Minamoto clan, and completely turned the 
tide of success. Many courtiers from Kioto, disappointed in their 
schemes at court, or in any way chagrined at the Taira, flocked to 
Yoritomo as his power rose, and thus brought to him a fund of expe- 
rience and ability which he was not slow to utilize for his own bene- 
fit. Meanwhile the Taira had not been idle. A large army was dis- 
patched to the East, reaching the Fuji River, in Suruga, about the 


same time that the Minamoto, headed by Yoritomo, appeared on the 
other side. The Taira were surprised to see such a host in arms. 
Both armies encamped on opposite banks, and glared at each other, 
eager for the fight, but neither attempting to cross the torrent. This 
is not to be wondered at. The Fujikawa bears the just reputation of 
being the swiftest stream in Japan. It rises in the northern part of 
Kai, on the precipitous side of the group of mountains called Yatsu 
dake, or "eight peaks," and, winding around the western base of 
the lordly Fuji, collecting into its own volume a host of impetuous 
tributaries born from the snows of lofty summits, it traverses the rich 
province of Suruga in steep gradient, plunging across the Tokaido, in 
arrowy celerity and volcanic force, into the sea near the lordly mount- 
ain which it encircles. To cross it at any time in good boats is a feat 
requiring coolness and skill ; in a flood, impossibility ; in the face of a 
hostile attack, sure annihilation. Though supremely eager to measure 
swords, neither party cared to cross to the attack, and the wager of 
battle was postponed. Both armies retired, the Taira retreating first. 
It is said that one of the Taira men, foreseeing that the tide would 
turn in favor of Yoritomo, went to the river flats at night, and scared 
up the flocks of wild fowl ; and the Taira, hearing the great noise, im- 
agined the Minamoto host was attacking them, and fled, panic-stricken. 
Yoritomo returned to Kamakura, and began in earnest to found a city 
that ultimately rivaled Kioto in magnificence, as it excelled it in pow- 
er. He gathered together and set to work an army of laborers, car- 
penters, and armorers. In a few months a city sprung up where once 
had been only timbered hills and valleys, matted with the perennial 
luxuriance of reeds or scrub bamboo, starred and fragrant with the 
tall lilies that still abound. The town lay in a valley surrounded by 
hills on every side, opening only on the glorious sea. The wall of 
hills was soon breached by cuttings which served as gate-ways, giving 
easy access to friends, and safe defense against enemies. While the 
laborers delved and graded, the carpenters plied axe, hooked adze, and 
chisel, and the sword-makers and armorers sounded a war chorus on 
their anvils by day, and lighted up the hills by their forges at night. 
The streets marked out were soon lined with shops ; and merchants 
came to sell, bringing gold, copper, and iron, silk, cotton, and hemp, 
and raw material for food and clothing, war and display. Store- 
houses of rice were built and filled ; boats were constructed and 
launched ; temples were erected. In process of time, the wealth of 
the Kuanto centred at Kamakura. While the old Taira chief lay dy- 


ing in Kioto, praying for Yoritomo's head to be laid on his new tomb, 
this same head, safely settled on vigorous shoulders, was devising the 
schemes, and seeing them executed, of fixing the Minamoto power 
permanently at Kamakura, and of wiping the name of Taira from the 

The long night of exile, of defeat, and defensive waiting of the 
Minarnoto had broken, and their day had dawned with sudden and 
unexpected splendor. Henceforward they took the initiative. While 
Yoritomo carried on the enterprises of peace and the operations of 
war from his sustained stronghold, his uncle, Yukiiye, his cousin, 
Yoshinaka, and his brother, Yoshitsune, led the armies in the field. 

Meanwhile, in 1181, Kiyomori fell sick at Kioto. He had been a 
monk, as well as a prime minister. His death was not that of a saint. 
He did not pray for his enemies. The Nihon Guai Shi thus describes 
the scene in the chamber where the chief of the Taira lay dying : In 
the Second leap-month, his sickness having increased, his family and 
high officers assembled round his bedside, and asked him what he 
would say. Sighing deeply, he said, " He that is born must necessa- 
rily die, and not I alone. Since the period of Heiji (1159), I have 
served the imperial house. I have ruled under heaven (the empire) 
absolutely. I have attained the highest rank possible to a subject. 
I am the grandfather of the emperor on his mother's side. Is there 
still a regret ? My regret is only that I am dying, and have not yet 
seen the head of Yoritomo of the Minamoto. After my decease, do 
not make offerings to Buddha on my behalf ; do not read the sacred 
books. Only cut off the head of Yoritomo of the Minamoto, and 
hang it on my tomb. Let all my sons and grandsons, retainers and 
servants, each and every one, follow out my commands, and on no ac- 
count neglect them." So saying, Kiyomori died at the age of sixty- 
four. His tomb, near Hiogo, is marked by an upright monolith and 
railing of granite. Munemori, his son, became head of the Taira 
house. Strange words from a death-bed; yet such as these were 
more than once used by dying Japanese warriors. Yoritomo's head 
was on his body when, eighteen years afterward, in 1199, he died 
peacefully in his bed. 

Nevertheless, while in Kamakura, his bed-chamber was nightly guard- 
ed by chosen warriors, lest treachery might cut off the hopes of the 
Minamoto. The flames of war were now lighted throughout the 
whole empire. From Kamakura forces were sent into the provinces 
of Hitachi, in the East, and of Echizen and Kaga, North and West, 


destroying the authority of the Kioto bureaucracy. Victory and in- 
crease made the army of the rising clan invincible. After numerous 
bloody skirmishes, the victors advanced through Omi, and swooped 
on the chief prize, and Kioto, the coveted capital, was in their hands. 
The captors of the city were Yukiiye and Yoshinaka, the uncle and 
cousin of Yoritomo respectively. The Taira, with the young mikado, 
Antoku, and his wife, Kiyomori's daughter, fled. Gotoba, his broth- 
er, was proclaimed mikado in his stead, and the estates and treasures 
of the Taira were confiscated, and divided among the victors. 

Yoshinaka was called the Asahi shogun (Morning-sun General), on 
account of the suddenness and brilliancy of his rising. Being now in 
command of a victorious army at the capital, swollen with pride, and 
intoxicated with sudden success, and with the actual power then in 
his hands, he seems to have lost his head. He was elevated to high 
rank, and given the title and office of governor of Echigo ; but hav- 
ing been bred in the country, he could not endure the cap and dress 
of ceremony, and was the subject of ridicule to the people of Kioto. 
He became jealous of his superior, Yoritomo, who was in Kamakura, 
two hundred miles away. He acted in such an arbitrary and over- 
bearing spirit that the wrath of the cloistered emperor Goshirakawa 
was roused against him. Being able to command no military forces, 
he incited the monks of the immense monasteries of Hiyeizan and 
Miidera, near the city, to obstruct his authority. Before they could 
execute any schemes, Yoshinaka, with a military force, seized them, 
put the ex-mikado in prison, beheaded the abbots, and deprived the 
high officers of state of their honors and titles. He then wrested 
from the court the title of Sei-i Shogun (Barbarian-subjugating Gen- 
eral). His exercise of power was of brief duration, for Yoshitsune 
was invested with the command of the forces in the West, and, sent 
against him, he was defeated and killed,* and the ex-mikado was re- 

* The details of this struggle are graphically portrayed in the Nikon Guai Shi. 
Toshinaka had married the lady Fujiwara, daughter of the court noble, Motofusa. 
When the Kamakura arrny was approaching Kioto, and quite near the city, he 
left his troops, and called at the palace to take leave of his wife. A long while 
having elapsed before he appeared, and every moment being critical, two of his 
samurai, grieved at his unseasonable delay, remonstrated with him, and then 
committed suicide. This hastened his movements. He attempted to carry off 
the cloistered emperor, but was repulsed by Yoshitsune" in person, and fled. 
His horse, falling into a quagmire in a rice-field, fell, and he, turning around to 
look at Kuip-hini, his faithful vassal, was hit by an arrow in the forehead and fell 
dead. He was thirty-one years old. Kane'hira, having but eight arrows left in 
his quiver, shot down eight of the enemy's horsemen ; and then, hearing a cry 


leased, and the reigning emperor set free from the terrorism under 
which he had been put. 

Meanwhile the Taira men, in their fortified palace at Fukuwara, 
were planning to recover their lost power, and assembling a great 
army in the South and West. The Minamoto, on the other hand, 
were expending all their energies to destroy them. The bitter ani- 
mosity of the two great families had reached such a pitch that the 
extermination of one or the other seemed inevitable. In 1184, Yoshi- 
tsune laid siege to the Fukuwara palace, and, after a short time, set it 
on fire. The son of Kiyomori and his chief followers fled to Sanuki, 
in Shikoku. Thither, as with the winged feet of an avenger, Yoshi- 
tsune followed, besieged them at the castle of Yashima, burned it, 
and drove his enemies, like scattered sheep, to the Straits of Shimo- 

Both armies now prepared a fleet of junks, for the contest was to 
be upon the water. In the Fourth month of the year 1185, all was 
ready for the struggle. The battle was fought at Dan no ura, near 
the modern town of Shimonoseki, where, in 1863, the combined 
squadrons of England, France, Holland, and the United States bom- 
barded the batteries of the Choshiu clansmen. In the latter instance 
the foreigner demonstrated the superiority of his artillery and disci- 
pline, and, for the sake of trade and gain, wreaked his vengeance as 
savage and unjust as any that stains the record of native war. 

In 1185, nearly seven centuries before, the contest was between 
men of a common country. It was the slaughter of brother by broth- 
er. The guerdon of ambition was supremacy. The Taira clan were 
at bay, driven, pursued, and hunted to the sea-shore. Like a wound- 
ed stag that turns upon its pursuers, the clan were about to give final 
battle ; by its wager they were to decide their future destiny a grave 
in a bloody sea, or peace under victory. They had collected five hun- 

among the enemy that his lord was dead, said, " My business is done," and, put- 
ting his sword in his mouth, fell skillfully from his horse so that the blade should 
pierce him, and died. His beautiful sister, Tomoye, was a concubine of Yoshi- 
naka ; and being of great personal strength, constantly followed her lord in bat- 
tle, sheathed in armor and riding a swift horse. In this last battle she fought in 
the van, and, among other exploits, cut off the head of Iye"yoshi, one of Yoshi- 
tsune^s best men. When her lord fled, she asked to be allowed to die with him. 
He refused to allow her, and, in spite of her tears, persisted in his refusal. Doff- 
ing her armor, she reached Shinano by private paths, and thence retired into 
Echigo, shaved off her hair, became a nun, and spent the remainder of her life 
praying for the eternal happiness of Yoshinaka. 



dred vessels. They hurried on board their aged fathers and mothers, 
their wives and children. Among them were gentle ladies from the 
palace, whose silken robes seemed sadly out of place in the crowded 
junks. There were mothers, with babes at breast, and little children, 
too young to know the awful passions that kindle man against man. 
Among the crowd were the widow and daughter of Kiyomori, the 
former a nun, the latter the empress-dowager, with the dethroned mi- 
kado, a child six years old. With them were the sacred insignia of 
imperial power, the sword and ball. 

The Minamoto host was almost entirely composed of men, unin- 
cumbered with women or families. They had seven hundred junks. 

Both fleets were gayly 
fluttering with flags and 
streamers. The Taira pen- 
nant was red, the Minamo- 
to white, with two black 
bars near the top. The 
junks, though clumsy, 
were excellent vessels for 
fighting purposes fully 
equal to the old war-gal- 
leys of Actium. 

On one side were brave 
men flushed with victory, 
with passions kindled by 
hate and the memory of 
awful wrongs. On the 
other side were brave 
men nerved with the cour- 
age of despair, resolved to die only in honor, scorning life and country, 
wounds and death. 

The battle began. With impetuosity and despair, the Taira drove 
their junks hard against the Minamoto, and gained a temporary ad- 
vantage by the suddenness of their onset. Seeing this, Yoshitsune, 
ever fearless, cried out and encouraged his soldiers. Then came a 
lull in the combat. Wada, a noted archer of the Minamoto, shot an 
arrow, and struck the junk of a Taira leader. " Shoot it back !" cried 
the chief. An archer immediately plucked it out of the gunwale, and, 
fitting it to his bow before the gaze of the crews of the hostile fleet, 
let fly. The arrow sped. It grazed the helmet of one, and pierced 

A Japanese War-jnuk of the Twelfth Century. 
(Vignette illustration on the national bank-notes.) 


another warrior. The Minamoto were ashamed. "Shoot it back!" 
thundered Yoshitsune. The archer, plucking it out and coolly ex- 
amining it, said, " It is short and weak." Drawing from his quiver an 
arrow of fourteen fists' length, and fitting it to the string, he shot it. 
The five-feet length of shaft leaped through the air, and, piercing the 
armor and flesh of the Taira bowman who reshot the first arrow, fell, 
spent, into the sea beyond. Elated with the lucky stroke, Yoshitsune 
emptied his quiver, shooting with such celerity and skill that many 
Taira fell. The Minamoto, encouraged, and roused to the highest 
pitch of enthusiasm, redoubled their exertions with oar and arrow, 
and the tide of victory turned. The white flag triumphed. Yet the 
Taira might have won the day had not treachery aided the foe. The 
pages of Japanese history teem with instances of the destruction of 
friends by traitors. Perhaps the annals of no other country are richer 
in the recitals of results gained by treachery. The Arnold of the Taira 
army was Shigeyoshi, friend to Yoshitsun6. He had agreed upon a 
signal, by which the prize could be seen, and when seen could be sur- 
rounded and captured. Yoshitsune, eagerly scanning the Taira fleet, 
finally caught sight of the preconcerted signal, and ordered the cap- 
tains of a number of his junks to surround the particular one of the 
Taira. In a trice the junks of the white pennant shot along-side the 
devoted ship, and her decks were boarded by armed men. Seeing 
this, a Taira man leaped from his own boat to kill Yoshitsune in close 
combat. Yoshitsune jumped into another junk. His enemy, thus 
foiled, drowned himself. In the hand-to-hand fight with swords, To- 
momori and six other Taira leaders were slain. 

Seeing the hopeless state of affairs, and resolving not to be capt- 
ured alive, the nun, Kiyomori's widow, holding her grandson, the 
child emperor, in her arms, leaped into the sea. Taigo, the emperor's 
mother, vainly tried to save her child. Both were drowned. Mune- 
mori, head of the Taira house, and many nobles, gentlemen, and 
ladies, were made prisoners. 

The combat deepened. The Minamoto loved fighting. The Taira 
scorned to surrender. Revenge lent its maddening intoxication. 
Life, robbed of all its charms, gladly welcomed glorious death. The 
whizzing of arrows, the clash of two-handed swords, the clanging of 
armor, the sweep of churning oars, the crash of colliding junks, the 
wild song of the rowers, the shouts of the warriors, made the storm- 
chorus of battle. One after another the Taira ships, crushed by the 
prows of their opponents, or scuttled by the iron bolt-heads of the 


Minamoto archers, sunk beneath the bubbling waters, leaving red whirl- 
pools of blood. Those that were boarded were swept with sword and 
spear of their human freight. The dead bodies clogged the decks, on 
which the mimic tides of blood ebbed and flowed and splashed with 
the motion of the waves, while the scuppers ran red like the spouts 
of an abattoir. The warriors who leaped into the sea became tar- 
gets for the avenger's arrows. Noble and peasant, woman and babe, 
rower and archer, lifting imploring arms, or sullenly spurning mercy, 
perished by hundreds. 

That May morning looked upon a blue sea laughing with unnum- 
bered ripples, and glinting with the steel of warriors decked in all 
the glory of battle-array, and flaunting with the gay pennants of the 
fleet which it seemed proud to bear. At night, heaving crimson like 
the vat of a dyer, defiled by floating corpses, and spewing its foul cor- 
ruption for miles along the strand, it bore awful though transient 
witness to the hate of man. 

The Taira, driven off the face of the earth, were buried with war's 
red burial beneath the sea, that soon forgot its stain, and laughed 
again in purity of golden gleam and deep-blue wave. The humble 
fisherman casting his nets, or trudging along the shore, in astonish- 
ment saw the delicate corpses of the court lady and the tiny babe, 
and the sun-bronzed bodies of rowers, cast upon the shore. The child 
who waded in the surf to pick up shells was frightened at the wave- 
rolled carcass of the dead warrior, from whose breast the feathered ar- 
row or the broken spear-stock protruded. The peasant, for many a 
day after, burned or consigned to the burial flames many a fair child 
whose silken dress and light skin told of higher birth and gentler 
blood than their own rude brood. 

Among a superstitious people dwelling by and on the sea, such an 
awful ingulfing of human life made a profound impression. The 
presence of so many thousand souls of dead heroes was overpowering. 
For years, nay, for centuries afterward, the ghosts of the Taira found 
naught but unrest in the sea in which their mortal bodies sunk. The 
sailor by day hurried with bated breath past the scene of slaughter 
and unsubstantial life. , The mariner by night, unable to anchor, and 
driven by wind, spent the hours of darkness in prayer, while his vivid 
imagination converted the dancing phosphorescence into the white 
hosts of the Taira dead. Even to-day the Choshiu peasant fancies he 
sees the ghostly armies baling out the sea with bottomless dippers, 
condemned thus to cleanse the ocean of the stain of centuries ago. 


A few of the Taira escaped and fled to Kiushiu. There, secluded 
in the fastnesses of deep valleys and high mountains, their descend- 
ants, who have kept themselves apart from their countrymen for near- 
ly seven hundred years, a few hundred in number, still live in poverty 
and pride. Their lurking-place was discovered only within the last 
century. Of the women spared from the massacre, some married 
their conquerors, some killed themselves, and others kept life in their 
defiled bodies by plying the trade in which beauty ever finds ready 
customers. At the present day, in Shimonoseki,* the courtesans de- 
scended from the Taira ladies claim, and are accorded, special privi- 

The vengeance of the Minamoto did not stop at the sea. They 
searched every hill and valley to exterminate every male of the doom- 
ed clan. In Kioto many boys and infant sons of the Taira family 
were living. All that were found were put to death. The Herod of 
Kamakura sent his father-in-law to attend to the bloody business. 

In the Fourth month the army of Kamakura returned to Kioto, en- 
joying a public triumph, with their spoils and prisoners, retainers of 
the Taira. They had also recovered the sacred emblems. For days 
the streets of the capital were gay with processions and festivals, and 
the coffers of the temples were enriched with the pious offerings of 
the victors, and their walls with votive tablets of gratitude. 

Munemori was sent to Kamakura, where he saw the man whose 
head his father had charged him on his death-bed to cut off and hang 
on his tomb. His own head was shortly afterward severed from his 
body by the guards who were conducting him to Kioto. 

* Shimonoseki is a town of great commercial importance, from its position at 
the entrance of the Inland Sea. It consists chiefly of one long street of two 
miles, at the base of a range of low steep hills. It lies four miles from the west- 
ern entrance of Hayato no se"to, or strait of Shimonoseki. The strait is from 
two thousand to five thousand feet wide, and about seven miles long. Mutsur^ 
Island (incorrectly printed as "Rockuren" on foreign charts) lies near the en- 
trance. On Hiku Island, and at the eastern end of the strait, are light-houses 
equipped according to modern scientific requirements. Four beacons, also, light 
the passage at night. The current is very strong. A submarine telegraphic ca- 
ble now connects the electric wires of Nagasaki, from Siberia to St. Petersburg; 
and of Shanghae (China) to London and New York, with those of Tokio and Ha- 
kodate. On a ledge of rocks in the channel is a monument in honor of Antoku, 
the young emperor who perished here in the arms of his grandmother, Tokiko, 
the Nil no ama, a title composed of Nii, noble of the second rank, and oma, nun, 
equal to "the noble nun of the second rank." 




MEANWHILE Yoritomo was strengthening his power at Kamakura, 
and initiating that dual system of government which has puzzled so 
many modern writers on Japan, and has given rise to the supposition 
that Japan had " two emperors, one temporal, the other spiritual." 

The country at this time was distracted with the disturbances of 
the past few years; robbers were numerous, and the Buddhist mon- 
asteries were often nests of soldiers. Possessed of wealth, arms, and 
military equipments, the bonzes were ever ready to side with the par- 
ty that pleased them. The presence of such men and institutions 
rendered it difficult for any one ruler to preserve tranquillity, since it 
was never known at what moment these professedly peaceful men 
would turn out as trained bands of military warriors. To restore or- 
der, prosperity, revenue, and firm government was now the professed 
wish of Yoritomo. He left the name and honor of government at 
Kioto. He kept the reality in Kamakura in his own hands, and for 
his own family. 

In 1 1 84, while his capital was rapidly becoming a magnificent city, 
he created the Mandokoro, or Council of State, at which all the gov- 
ernment affairs of the Kuanto were discussed, and through which the 
administration of the government was carried on. The officers of the 
Internal Revenue Department in Kioto, seeing which way the tide of 
power was flowing, had previously come to Kamakura bringing the 
records of the department, and became subject to Yoritomo's orders. 
Thus the first necessity, revenue, was obtained. A criminal tribunal 
was also established, especially for the trial of the numerous robbers, 
as well as for ordinary cases. He permitted all who had objections 
to make or improvements to suggest to send in their petitions. He 
requested permission of the mikado to reward all who had performed 
meritorious actions, and to disarm the priests, and to confiscate their 
war materials. These requests, urged on the emperor in the interest 
of good government, were no sooner granted, and the plans executed, 


than the news of the destruction of the Taira family at Dan no ura 
was received. Then Yoritomo prayed the mikado that five men of 
his family name might be made governors of provinces. The peti- 
tion was granted, and Yoshitsune was made governor of lyo by spe- 
cial decree. 

Here may be distinctly seen the first great step toward the military 
government that lasted nearly seven centuries. 

The name of the shogun's government, and used especially by its 
opposers, was bakufu literally, curtain government, because anciently 
in China, as in Japan, a curtain (baku) surrounded the tent or head- 
quarters of the commanding general. Bakufu, like most technical 
military terms in Japan, is a Chinese word. 

The appointing of five military men as governors of provinces was 
a profound innovation in Japanese governmental affairs. Hitherto it 
had been the custom to appoint only civilians from the court to those 
offices. It does not appear, however, that Yoritomo at first intended 
to seize the military control of the whole empire ; but his chief min- 
ister, Oye no Hiromoto, president of the Council of State, conceived 
another plan which, when carried out, as it afterward was, threw all 
real power in Yoritomo's hands. As the Kuanto was tranquil and 
prosperous under vigorous government, and as the Kuanto troops 
were used to put down rebels elsewhere, he proposed that in all the 
circuits and provinces of the empire a special tax should be levied 
for the support of troops in those places. By this means a permanent 
force could be kept, by which the peace of the empire could be main- 
tained without the expense and trouble of calling out the Eastern 
army. Also and here was another step to military government and 
feudalism that a shiugo a military chief, should be placed in each 
province, dividing the authority with the kokushiu, or civil governor, 
and a jito, to be appointed from Kamakura, should rule jointly with 
rulers of small districts, called shoyen. Still further another step 
in feudalism he proposed that his own relations who had perform- 
ed meritorious service in battle should fill these offices, and that they 
should all be under his control from Kamakura. This was done, and 
Yoritomo thus acquired the governing power of all Japan. 

It seems, at first sight, strange that the mikado and his court should 
grant these propositions; yet they did so. They saw the Kuanto 
half the empire tranquil under the strong military government of 
Yoritomo. Hojo, his father-in-law, was commanding the garrison at 
Kioto. The mikado, Gotoba, may be said to have owed his throne to 


Yoritomo, whose ancestors had conquered, almost added to the realm, 
all the extreme Northern and Eastern parts of Japan. This portion, 
merely tributary before, was now actually settled and governed like 
the older parts of the empire. 

In 1 1 80, Yoritomo made a campaign in that part of Japan north of 
the thirty-seventh parallel, then called Mutsu and Dewa. On his re- 
turn, being now all -victorious, he visited the court at Kioto. The 
quondam exile was now the foremost subject in the empire. His re- 
ception and treatment by the reigning and cloistered emperors were in 
the highest possible scale of magnificence. The splendor of his own 
retinue astonished even the old courtiers, accustomed to the gay pag- 
eants of the capital. They could scarcely believe that such wealth ex- 
isted and such knowledge of the art of display was cultivated in the 
Kuanto. Military shows, athletic games, and banquets were held for 
many days, and the costliest presents exchanged, many of which are 
still shown at Kamakura and Kioto. Yoritomo returned, clothed 
with the highest honor, and with vastly greater jurisdiction than had 
ever been intrusted to a subject. With all the civil functions ever 
held by the once rival Fujiwara, he united in himself more military 
power than a Taira had ever wielded. 

In 1192, he attained to the climax of honor, when the mikado ap- 
pointed him Sei-i Tai Shogun (Barbarian-subjugating Great General), a 
title and office that existed until 1868. Henceforth the term shogun 
came to have a new significance. Anciently all generals were called 
shoguns ; but, with new emphasis added to the name, the shogun ac- 
quired more and more power, until foreigners supposed him to be a 
sovereign. Yet this subordinate from first to last from 1194 until 
1868 was a general only, and a military vassal of the emperor. 
Though he governed the country with a strong military hand, he did 
it as a vassal, in the name and for the sake of the mikado at Kioto. 

Peace now reigned in Japan. The soldier-ruler at Kamakura spent 
the prime of his life in consolidating his power, expecting to found a 
family that should rule for many generations. He encouraged hunt- 
ing on Mount Fuji, and sports calculated to foster a martial spirit in 
the enervating times of peace. In 1195, he made another visit to 
Kioto, staying four months. Toward the end of 1198, he had a fall 
from his horse, and died early in 1199. He was fifty-three years old, 
and had ruled fifteen years. 

Yoritomo is looked upon as one of the ablest rulers and greatest 
generals that ever lived in Japan. Yet, while all acknowledge his 


consummate ability, many regard him as a cruel tyrant, and a heart- 
less and selfish man. His treatment of his two brothers, Noriyori 
and Yoshitsune, are evidences that this opinion is too well founded. 
Certain it is that the splendor of Yoritomo's career has never blinded 
the minds of posterity to his selfishness and cruelty ; and though, like 
Napoleon, he has had his eulogists, yet the example held up for the 
imitation of youth is that of Yoshitsune, and not Yoritomo. Mori 
says of the latter : " He encouraged each of his followers to believe 
himself the sole confidant of his leader's schemes, and in this cunning 
manner separated their interests, and made them his own. Nearly all 
of those around him who became possible rivals in power or populari- 
ty were cruelly handled when he had exhausted the benefit of their 
service." His simple tomb stands at the top of a knoll on the slope 
of hills a few hundred yards distant from the great temple at Kama- 
kura, overlooking the fields on which a mighty city once rose, when 
called into being by his genius and energy, which flourished for cent- 
uries, and disappeared, to allow luxuriant Nature to again assert her 
sway. The rice-swamps and the millet-fields now cover the former 
sites of his proudest palaces. Where metropolitan splendor and lux- 
ury once predominated, the irreverent tourist bandies his jests, or the 
toiling farmer stands knee-deep in the fertile ooze, to win from classic 
soil his taxes and his daily food. 

The victory over the Taira was even greater than Yoritomo had 
supposed possible. Though exulting in the results, he burned with 
jealousy that Yoshitsune had the real claim to the honor of victory. 
While in this mood, there were not wanting men to poison his mind, 
and fan the suspicions into fires of hate. There was one Kajiwara, 
who had been a military adviser to the expedition to destroy the Taira. 
On one occasion, Yoshitsune advised a night attack in full force on 
the enemy. Kajiwara opposed the project, and hindered it. Yoshi- 
tsune, with only fifty men, carried out his plan, and, to the chagrin 
and disgrace of Kajiwara, he won a brilliant victory. This man, in- 
censed at his rival, and consuming with wrath, hied to Yoritomo with 
tales and slanders, which the jealous brother too willingly believed. 
Yoshitsune, returning as a victor, and with the spoils for his brother, 
received peremptory orders not to enter Kamakura, but to remain 
in the village of Koshigoye, opposite the isle of Enoshima. While 
there, he wrote a touching letter, recounting all his toils and dangers 
while pursuing the Taira, and appealing for clearance of his name 
from slander and suspicion. It was sent to Oye no Hiromoto, chief 



councilor of Yoritomo, whom Yoshitsune begged to intercede to his 
brother for him. This letter, still extant, and considered a model of 
filial and fraternal affection, is taught by parents to their children. It 
is among the most pathetic writings in Japanese literature, and is 
found in one of the many popular collections of famous letters. 

Wearying of waiting in the suburbs of the city, Yoshitsune went to 
Kioto. Yoritomo's troops, obeying orders, attacked his house to kill 
him. He fled, with sixteen retainers, into Yamato. There he was 
again attacked, but escaped and fled. He now determined to go to 
Oshiu, to his old friend Hidehira. He took the route along the west 
coast, through Echizen, Kaga, and Echigo, and found a refuge, as he 
supposed, with Hidehira. The spies of his brother soon discovered 
his lurking-place, and ordered him to be put to- death. The son of 
Hidehira attacked him. According to popular belief, Yoshitsune, aft- 
er killing his wife and children with his own hands, committed hara- 
kiri. His head, preserved in sake, was sent to Kamakura. 

The exact truth concerning the death of Yoshitsune is by no means 
yet ascertained. It is declared by some that he escaped and fled to 
Yezo, where he lived among the Ainos for many years, and died 
among them, either naturally or by hara-kiri. The Ainos have a 
great reverence for his deeds, and to this day worship his spirit, and 
over his grave in Hitaka they have erected a shrine. Others assert 
that he fled to Asia, and became the great conqueror, Genghis Khan.* 
Concerning this last, a Japanese student once remarked, "Nothing 
but the extraordinary vanity of the Japanese people could originate 
such a report." 

* In a Chinese book called Seppu, a collection of legends and historical mis- 
cellanies, published in China, it is stated that Genghis Khan was one Yoshitsu- 
ne', who came from Japan. The Chinese form of Minamoto Yoshitsune" is Gen 
Gike". He was also called, after his reputed death, Temujin (or Tenjin). As is 
well known, the Mongol conqueror's name was originally, on his first appear- 
ance, Temujin. The Japanese Ainos have also apotheosized Yoshitsune' under 
the title Hanguan Dai Mio Jin Great Illustrious Lawgiver. Yoshitsune" was 
born in 1159 ; he was thirty years old at the time of his reputed death. Genghis 
Khan was born, according to the usually received data, in 1160, and died 1227. If 
Gen Gike" and Genghis Khan, or Gengis Kan, were identical, the hero had thirty- 
eight years for his achievements. Genghis Khan was born, it is said, with his 
hand full of blood. Obeying the words of a shaman (inspired seer), he took the 
name Genghis (greatest), and called his people Mongols (bold). The conquest of 
the whole earth was promised him. He and his sons subjugated China and Co- 
rea, overthrew the caliphate of Bagdad, and extended the Mongolian empire as 
far as the Oder and the Danube. They attempted to conquer Japan, as we shall 
see in the chapter headed " The Invasion of the Mongol Tartars." 


Nevertheless, the immortality of Yoshitsun6 is secured. Worshiped 
as a god by the Ainos, honored and beloved by every Japanese youth 
as an ideal hero of chivalry, his features pictured on boys' kites, his 
mien and form represented in household effigies displayed annually 
at the boys' great festival of flags, glorified in art, song, and story, 
Yoshitsune, the hero warrior and martyr, will live in unfading memo- 
ry so long as the ideals of the warlike Japanese stand unshattered or 
their traditions are preserved.* 

* The struggles of the rival houses of Gen and Hei form an inexhaustible mine 
of incidents to the playwright, author, poet, and artist. I can not resist the 
temptation of giving one of these in this place. The artist's representation of 
it adorns many a Japanese house. At the siege of Ichinotani, a famous captain, 
named Naozane", who fought under the white flag, while in camp one day invest- 
ing the Taira forces, saw a boat approach the beach fronting the fort. Shortly 
after, a Taira soldier rode out of the castle-gate into the waves to embark. Nao- 
zane saw, by the splendid crimson armor and golden helmet of the rider, that he 
was a Taira noble. Here was a prize indeed, the capture of which would make 
the Kuanto captain a general. Naozane" thundered out the challenge: "Do my 
eyes deceive me ? Is he a Taira leader ; and is he such a coward that he shows 
his back to the eye of his enemy ? Come back and flght I" The rider was in- 
deed a Taira noble, young Atsumori, only sixteen years of age, of high and gen- 
tle birth, and had been reared in the palace. Naozane" was a bronzed veteran of 
forty years. Both charged each other on horseback, with swords drawn. After 
a few passes, Naozane" flung away his sword, and, unarmed, rushed to grasp his 
foe. Not yet to be outdone in gallantry, Atsumori did the same. Both clinched 
while in the saddle, and fell to the sand, the old campaigner uppermost. He 
tore off the golden helmet, and, to his amazement, saw the pale, smooth face and 
noble mien of a noble boy that looked just like his own beloved son of the same 
age. The father was more than the soldier. The victor trembled with emotion. 
"How wretched the life of a warrior to have to kill such a lovely boy! How 
miserable will those parents be who find their darling is in an enemy's hand ! 
Wretched me, that I thought to destroy this life for the sake of reward !" He 
then resolved to let his enemy go secretly away, and make his escape. At that 
moment a loud voice shouted angrily, " Naozane" is double-hearted : he captures 
an enemy, and then thinks to let him escape." Thus compelled, Naozane" steeled 
his heart, took up his sword, and cut offAtsumori's head. He carried the bloody 
trophy to Yoshitsune, and, while all stood admiring and ready to applaud, Nao- 
zane' refused all reward, and, to the amazement of his chief and the whole camp, 
begged leave to resign. Doffing helmet, armor, and sword, he shaved off his 
hair, and became a disciple of the holy bonze Honen, learned the doctrines of 
Buddha, and, becoming profoundly versed in the sacred lore, he resolved to spend 
the remnant of his days in a monastery. He set out for the Kuanto, riding with 
his face to the tail of the animal, but in the direction of paradise. Some one 
asked him why he rode thus. He replied, 

"In the Clear Land, perchance they're me reputing 

A warrior brave, 

Because I turn my back, refusing 
* Fame, once so dear." 




THOUGH there may be some slight justification of Yoritomo's set- 
ting up a dual system of government to control and check the in- 
trigues of courtiers at Kioto, yet at best it was a usurpation of the 
power belonging only to the mikado. The creation of a duarchy was 
the swift and sure result of Japan having no foreign enemies. 

So long as the peace or existence of the empire was threatened by 
the savages on the frontier, or by invading fleets on the sea-coast, 
there was an impelling cause to bind together the throne and people ; 
but when the barbarians were tranquilized, China and Corea gave no 
signs of war ; and especially when the nobility were divided into the 
civil and military classes, and the mikado was no longer a man of 
physical and mental vigor, a division of the governing power natural- 
ly arose. 

From the opening of the thirteenth century, the course of Japanese 
history flows in two streams. There were now two capitals, Kioto 
and Kamakura, and two centres of authority : one, the lawful but 
overawed emperor and the imperial court ; the other, the military vas- 
sal, and a government based on the power of arms. It must never be 
forgotten, however, that the fountain of authority was in Kioto, the 
ultimate seat of power in the ancient constitution. Throughout the 
centuries the prestige of the mikado's person never declined. The 
only conditions under which it was possible for this division of po- 
litical power to exist was the absence of foreigners from the soil of 
Japan. So soon as Japan entered into political relations with outside 
nations, which would naturally seek the real source of power, the du- 
archy was doomed. 

When Yoritomo died, all men wondered whether the power would 
remain at Kamakura, the country rest peaceful, and his successors 
reign with ability. The Japanese have a proverb conveying a bitter 
truth, learned from oft-repeated experience, "Taisho ni tane ga nashi" 
(The general has no child, or, There is no seed to a great man). The 


spectacle of a great house decaying through the inanity or supineness 
of sons is constantly repeated in their history. The theme also forms 
the basis of their standard novels. Yoritomo's sons, not inheriting 
their father's ability, failed to wield his personal power of administra- 
tion. From the day of his death, it may be said that the glory of 
the Minaraoto family declined, while that of the Hojo began. 

Yet it seemed strange that the proverb should be verified in this 
case. Yoritomo had married no ordinary female. His wife, Masago, 
was a woman of uncommon intellectual ability, who had borne him a 
son, Yoriiye". This young man, who was eighteen years old at his 
father's death, was immediately appointed chief of all the military 
officers in the empire, and it was expected he would equal his father 
in military prowess and administrative skill. His mother, Masago, 
though a shorn nun, who had professed retirement from the world, 
continued to take a very active part in the government. 

The parental authority and influence in Japan, as in China, is often 
far greater than that of any other. Not even death or the marriage 
relation weakens, to any great extent, the hold of a father on a child. 
With affection on the one hand, and cunning on the other, an un- 
scrupulous father may do what he will. We have seen how the Fuji- 
wara and Taira families controlled court, throne, and emperor, by mar- 
rying their daughters to infant or boy mikados. We shall now find 
the Hojo dispensing the power at Kamakura by means of a crafty 
woman willing to minister to her father's rather than to her son's 

Hojo Tokimasa was the father of Masago, wife of Yoritomo. The 
latter always had great confidence in and respect for the abilities of 
his father-in-law. At his death, Tokimasa became chief of the coun- 
cil of state. Instead of assisting and training Yoriiye in government 
affairs, giving him the benefit of his experience, and thus enabling 
the son to tread in his father's footsteps, he would not allow Yori iy6 
to hear cases in person, or to take active share in public business. 
When the youth plunged into dissipation and idleness, which termi- 
nated in a vicious course of life, his mother often reproved him, 
while Tokimasa, doubtless rejoicing over the fact, pretended to know 
nothing of the matter. All this time, however, he was filling the of- 
fices of government, not with the Minamoto adherents, but with his 
own kindred and partisans. Nepotism in Japan is a science; but 
cursed as the Japanese have been, probably none exceeded in this 
subtle craft the master, Tokimasa ; though Yoriiye, receiving his fa- 


ther's office, had been appointed Sei-i Tai Shogun, with the rank ju- 
ni-i (second division of the second rank), his grandfather still kept 
the real power. When twenty-two years of age, while he was suffer- 
ing from sickness probably the result of his manner of life his 
mother and Tokimasa, who instigated her, attempted to compel him 
to resign his office, and to give the superintendency of the provincial 
governors to his infant son, and set over the Kuansei, or Western 
Japan, his younger brother, aged twelve years. This was the old 
trick of setting up boys and babies on the nominal seat of power, in 
order that crafty subordinates might rale. 

Yoriiye heard of this plan, and resolved to avert its execution. He 
failed, and, as is usual in such cases, was compelled to shave off his 
hair, as a sign that his interest in political affairs had ceased. He 
was exiled to a temple in Idzu. There he was strangled, while in his 
bath, by the hired assassins sent by Tokimasa. 

Sanetomo, brother of Yoriiye, succeeded in office. The boy was 
but twelve years old, and very unlike his father. He cared nothing 
for hunting or military exercises. His chief occupation was in play- 
ing foot-ball a very mild game, compared with that played in this 
country and composing poetry. His time was spent with fair girls 
and women, of whom he had as many as he wished. All this was in 
accordance with the desire and plans of the Hojo family, who mean- 
while wielded all power. Sanetomo lived his luxuriant life in the 
harem, the bath, and the garden, until twenty-eight years old. Mean- 
while, Kugio, the son of Yoriiye, who had been made a priest, grew 
up, and had always looked upon Sanetomo, instead of Tokimasa, as 
his father's murderer. One night as Sanetomo was returning from 
worship at the famous shrine of Tsurugaoka the unusual hour of 
nine having been chosen by the diviners Kugio leaped out from be- 
hind a staircase, cut off Sanetomo's head, and made off with it, but 
was himself beheaded by a soldier sent after him. The main line of 
the Minamoto family was now extinct. Thus, in the very origin and 
foundation of the line of shoguns, the same fate befell them as in 
the case of the emperors the power wielded by an illustrious ances- 
tor, when transferred to descendants, was lost. A nominal ruler sat 
on the throne, while a wire-puller behind directed every movement. 
This is the history of every line of shoguns that ruled from the first, 
in 1196, until the last, in 1868. 

The usurpation of the Hojo was a double usurpation. Properly, 
they were vassals of the shogun, who was himself a vassal of the mi- 


kado. It must not be supposed that the emperor at Kioto calmly 
looked on, caring for none of these things at Kamakura. The meshes 
of the Minamoto had been woven completely round the imperial au- 
thority. Now the Hojo, like a new spider, was spinning a more fatal 
thread, sucking from the emperor, as from a helpless fly, the life- 
blood of power. 

The Hojo family traced their descent from the mikado Kuammu 
(782-805) through Sadamori, a Taira noble, from whom Tokimasa 
was the seventh in descent. Their ancestors had settled at Hojo, in 
Idzu, whence they took their name. While the Minainoto rose to 
power, the Hojo assisted them, and, by intermarriage, the two clans 
had become closely attached to each other. 

The names of the twelve rulers, usually reckoned as seven genera- 
tions, were : Tokimasa, Yoshitoki, Yasutoki, Tsunetoki, Tokiyori, Masa- 
toki, Tokimun6, Sadatoki, Morotoki, Hirotoki, Takatoki, and Moritoki. 
Of these, the third, fourth, and fifth were the ablest, and most de- 
voted to public business. It was on the strength of their merit and 
fame that their successors were so long able to hold power. Yasu- 
toki established two councils, the one with legislative and executive, 
and the other with judicial powers. Both were representative of the 
wishes of the people. He promulgated sixty regulations in respect to 
the method of judicature. This judicial record is of great value to 
the historian; and long afterward, in 1534, an edition of Yasuto- 
ki's laws, in one volume, with a commentary, was published. In later 
times it has been in popular use as a copy-book for children. He 
also took an oath before the assembly to maintain the same with 
equity, swearing by the gods of Japan, saying, " We stand as judges 
of the whole country ; if we be partial in our judgments, may the 
Heavenly Gods punish us." In his private life he was self-abnegative 
and benevolent, a polite and accomplished scholar, loving the society 
of the learned. Tsunetoki faithfully executed the laws, and carried 
out the policy of his predecessor. Tokiyori, before he became regent, 
traveled, usually in disguise, all over the empire, to examine into the 
details of local administration, and to pick out able men, so as to put 
them in office when he should need their services. In his choice he 
made no distinction of rank. Among the upright men he elevated to 
the judges' bench was the Awodo, who, for conscientious reasons, never 
wore silk garments, nor a lacquered scabbard to his sword, nor ever 
held a bribe in his hand. He was the terror of venal officials, injustice 
and bribery being known to him as if by sorcery ; while every detected 


culprit was sure to be disgracefully cashiered. Hojo Akitoki estab- 
lished a library, consisting of Chinese, Confucian, Buddhistic, and na- 
tive literature, at Kanazawa, in Sagami. Here scholars gathered, 
and students flocked, to hear their lectures and to study the classics, 
or the tenets of the faith, nearly all the learned men of this period 
being priests. "While the writer of the Guai Shi attacks the Hojo for 
their usurpations, he applauds them for their abilities and excellent 

The line of shoguns who nominally ruled from 1199 to 1333 were 
merely their creatures; and that period of one hundred and forty 
years, including seven generations, may be called the period of the 
Hojo. The political history of these years is but that of a monoto- 
nous recurrence of the exaltation of boys and babies of noble blood, 
to whom was given the semblance of power, who were sprinkled with 
titles, and deposed as soon as they were old enough to be trouble- 
some. None of the Hojo ever seized the office of Shogun, but in 
reality they wielded all and more of the power attaching to the office, 
under the title of shikken. It was an august game of state-craft, in 
which little children with colossal names were set up like nine-pins, 
and bowled down as suited the playful fancies of subordinates who 
declined name and titles, and kept the reality of power. The count- 
ers were neglected, while the prize was won. 

After the line of Yoritomo became extinct, Yoritomo's widow, Ma- 
sago, requested of the imperial court at Kioto that Yoritsune, a Fuji- 
wara baby two years old, should be made shogun. The Fujiwara no- 
bles were glad to have even a child of their blood elevated to a posi- 
tion in which, when grown, he might have power. The baby came 
to Kamakura. He cast the shadow of authority twenty-five years, 
when he was made to resign, in 1244, in favor of his own baby boy, 
Yoshitsugu, six years old. This boy-shogun when fourteen years old, 
in 1252, was deposed by Hojo Tokiyori, and sent back to Kioto. 
Tired of the Fujiwara scions, the latter then obtained as shogun a 
more august victim, the boy Munetaka, a son of the emperor Go-Saga, 
who after fourteen years fell ill, in 1266, with that very common Jap- 
anese disease official illness. He was probably compelled to feign 
disease. His infant son, three years of age, was then set up, and, 
when twenty-three years of age (1289), was bowled down by Hojo 
Sadatoki, who sent him in disgrace, heels upward, in a palanquin to 
Kioto. Hisaakira, the third son of the emperor Go-Fukakusa, was 
set up as shogun in 1289. The Hojo bowled down this fresh dum- 


my in 1308, and put up Morikuni, his eldest son. This was the last shd- 
gun of imperial blood. The game of the players was now nearly over. 

The ex-emperor, Gotoba, made a desperate effort to drive the usurp- 
ing llojo from power. A small and gallant army was raised ; fighting 
took place ; but the handful of imperial troops was defeated by the 
overwhelming hosts sent from Kamakura. Their victory riveted the 
chains upon the imperial family. To the arrogant insolence of the 
usurper was now added the cruelty of the conscious tyrant. 

Never before had such outrageous deeds been committed, or such 
insults been heaped upon the sovereigns as were done by these up- 
starts at Kamakura. Drunk with blood and exultation, the Hojo 
wreaked their vengeance on sovereign and subject alike. Banish- 
ment and confiscation were the order of their day. The ex-emperor 
was compelled to shave off his hair, and was exiled to the island of 
Oki The reigning mikado was deposed, and sent to Sado. Two 
princes of the blood were banished to Tajima and Bizen. The ex-em- 
peror Tsuchimikado there were now three living emperors not 
willing to dwell in palace luxury while his brethren were in exile, ex- 
pressed a wish to share their fate. He was sent to Awa. To com- 
plete the victory and the theft of power, the Hojo chief Yasutoki 
confiscated the estates of all who had fought on the emperor's side, 
and distributed them among his own minions. Over three thousand 
fiefs were thus disposed of. No camp-followers ever stripped a dead 
hero's body worse than these human vultures tore from the lawful 
sovereign the last fragment of authority. All over Japan the patriots 
heard, with groans of despair, the slaughter of the loyal army, and the 
pitiful fate of their emperors. The imperial exile died in Sado of a 
broken heart. A nominal mikado at Kioto, and a nominal shogun at 
Kamakura, were set up, but the Hojo were the keepers of both. 

The later days of the Hojo present a spectacle of tyranny and mis- 
government such as would disgrace the worst Asiatic bureaucracy. 
The distinguished and able men such as at first shed lustre on the 
name of this family were no more. The last of them were given to 
luxury and carousal, and the neglect of public business. A horde of 
rapacious officials sucked the life-blood and paralyzed the energies of 
the people. To obtain means to support themselves in luxury, they 
increased the weight of taxes, that ever crushes the spirit of the Asi- 
atic peasant. Their triple oppression, of mikado, shogun, and people, 
became intolerable. The handwriting was on the wall. Their days 
were numbered. 


In 1327, Moriyoshi, son of the Emperor Go-Daigo, began to mature 
plans for the recovery of imperial power. By means of the ubiqui- 
tous spies, and through treachery, his schemes were revealed, and he 
was only saved from punishment from Hojo by being ordered by his 
father to retire into a Buddhist monastery. This was ostensibly to 
show that he had given up all interest in worldly affairs. In reality, 
however, he assisted his father in planning the destruction of Hojo. 
He lived at Oto, and was called, by the people, Oto no miya. The 
Emperor Go-Daigo, though himself put on the throne by the king- 
makers at Kamakura, chafed under the galling dictatorship of those 
who were by right his vassals. He resolved to risk life, and all that 
was dear to him, to overthrow the dual system, and establish the orig- 
inal splendor and prestige of the mikadoate. He knew the reverence 
of the people for the throne would sustain him, could he but raise suf- 
ficient military force to reduce the Hojo. 

He secured the aid of the Buddhist priests and, in, 1330, fortified 
Kasagi, in Yamato. Kusunoki Masashige about the same time arose 
in Kawachi, making it the aim of his life to restore the mikadoate. 
The next year Hojo sent an army against Kasagi, attacked and burned 
it. The emperor was taken prisoner, and banished to Oki. Ku- 
sunoki, though twice besieged, escaped, and lived to win immortal 

Connected with this mikado's sad fate is one incident of great 
dramatic interest, which has been enshrined in Japanese art, besides 
finding worthy record in history. While Go-Daigo was on his way 
to banishment, borne in a palanquin, under guard of the soldiers 
of Hojo, Kojima Takanori attempted to rescue his sovereign. This 
young nobleman was the third son of the lord of Bingo, who occupied 
his hereditary possessions in Bizen. Setting out with a band of re- 
tainers to intercept the convoy and to release the imperial prisoner, at 
the hill of Funasaka he waited patiently for the train to approach, 
finding, when too late, that he had occupied the wrong pass. Has- 
tening to the rear range of hills, they learned that the objects of their 
search had already gone by. Kojima's followers, being now disheart- 
ened, returned, leaving him alone. He, however, cautious, followed 
on, and for several days attempted in vain to approach the palanquin 
and whisper a word of hope in the ear of the imperial exile. The 
vigilance of the Hojo vassals rendering all succor hopeless, Kojima 
hit upon a plan that baffled his enemies and lighted hope in the bosom 
of the captive. Secretly entering the garden of the inn at which the 



party was resting at night, Kojima scraped off the bark of a cherry- 
tree, and wrote in ink, on the inner white membrane, this poetic stanza, 

" Ten K6sen wo horobosu nakard 
Toki ni Hanrei naki ni shimo aradzu." 

(O Heaven ! destroy not Kosen, 
While Hanrei still lives.) 

The allusion, couched in delicate phrase, is to Kosen, an ancient king 
in China, who was dethroned and made prisoner, but was afterward 
restored to honor and power by the faithfulness and valor of his re- 
tainer, Hanrei. 

Kojima Writing on the Cherry-tree. (Vignette upon the greenback national-bank notes.) 

The next morning, the attention of the soldiers was excited by the 
fresh handwriting on the tree. As none of them were able to read, 
they showed it to the Emperor Go-Daigo, who read the writing, and its 
significance, in a moment. Concealing his joy, he went to banish- 
ment, keeping hope alive during his loneliness. He knew that he 
was not forgotten by his faithful vassals. Kojima afterward fought to 
restore the mikado, and perished on the battle-field. The illustration 
given above is borrowed from a picture by a native artist, which now 
adorns the national-bank notes issued under the reign of the present 


This darkest hour of the mikado's fortune preceded the dawn. 
Already a hero was emerging from obscurity who was destined to be 
the destroyer of Kamakura and the Hojo. This was Nitta Yoshisada. 

The third son of Minarnoto Yoshi-iy6, born A.D. 1057, had two 
sons. The elder son succeeded his father to the fief of Nitta, in the 
province of Kodzuke. The second inherited from his adopted father, 
Tawara, the fief of Ashikaga, in Shimotsuke. Both these sons found- 
ed families which took their name from their place of hereditary pos- 
session. At this period, four hundred years later, their illustrious de- 
scendants became conspicuous. Nitta Yoshisada, a captain in the 
army of Hojo, had been sent to besiege Kusunoki, one of the mika- 
do's faithful vassals ; but, refusing to fight against the imperial forces, 
Nitta deserted with his command. He sent his retainer to Oto no 
miya, son of the emperor, then hiding in the mountains, who gave 
him a commission in the name of his exiled father. Nitta immediate- 
ly returned to his native place, collected all his retainers, and before 
the shrine of the village raised the standard of revolt against Hojo. 
His banner was a long white pennant, crossed near the top by two 
black bars, beneath which was a circle bisected with a black zone. 
Adopting the plan of attack proposed by his brother, and marching 
down into Sagami, he appeared at Inamura Saki, on the outskirts of 
Kamakura, in thirteen days after raising his banner as the mikado's 

At this point, where the road from Kamakura to Enoshima strikes 
the beach, a splendid panorama breaks upon the vision of the be- 
holder. In front is the ocean, with its rolling waves and refreshing 
salt breeze. To the south, in imposing proportions, and clothed in 
the blue of distance, is the island of Oshima; and farther on are the 
mountains of the peninsula of Idzu. To the right emerges, fair and 
lovely, in perpetual green, the island of Enoshima. Landward is the 
peak of Oyama, with its satellites ; but, above all, in full magnificence 
of proportion, stands Fuji, the lordly mountain. Here Nitta perform- 
ed an act that has become immortal in song and poem, and the artist's 

On the eve before the attack, Nitta, assembling his host at the 
edge of the strand, and removing his helmet, thus addressed his war- 
riors : " Our heavenly son (mikado) has been deposed by his traitor- 
ous subject, and is now in distant exile in the Western Sea, I, Yoshi- 
sada, being unable to look upon this act unmoved, have raised an 
army to punish the thieves yonder. I humbly pray thee, God of 



the Sea, to look into my loyal heart ; command the tide to ebb and 
open a path." Thus saying, he bowed reverently, and then, as Rai 
says, removed his helmet (though the artist has overlooked the state- 
ment), and in the sight of heaven cast his sword into the waves as a 
prayer-offering to the gods that the waves might recede, in token of 
their righteous favor. The golden hilt gleamed for a moment in the 
air, and the sword sunk from sight. The next morning the tide had 
ebbed, the strand was dry, and the army, headed by the chief whom 
the soldiers now looked upon as the chosen favorite of Heaven, marched 

Nitta Yoshisada casting the Sword into the Sea. 


(Vignette from the national -bank 

resistlessly on. Kamakura was attacked from three sides. The fight- 
ing was severe and bloody, but victory everywhere deserted the ban- 
ners of the traitors, and rested upon the pennons of the loyal. Nitta, 
after performing great feats of valor in person, finally set the city on 
fire, and in a few hours Kamakura was a waste of ashes. 

Just before the final destruction of the city, a noble named Ando, 
vassal of the house of Hojo, on seeing the ruin around him, the sol- 
diers slaughtered, and the palaces burned, remarking that for a hun- 
dred years no instance of a retainer dying for his lord had been 
known, resolved to commit hara-kiri. The wife of Nitta was his 
niece. Just as he was about to plunge his dirk into his body, a serv- 


ant handed him a letter from her, begging him to surrender. The old 
man indignantly exclaimed : " My niece is the daughter of a samurai 
house. Why did she make so shameless a request? And Nitta, her 
husband, is a samurai. Why did he allow her to do so ?" He then 
took the letter, wrapped it round his sword, which he plunged into 
his body, and died. A great number of vassals of Hojo did likewise. 

While Nitta was fighting at Kamakura, and thus overthrowing the 
Hojo power in the East, Ashikaga Takauji had drawn sword in Kioto, 
and with Kusunoki re-established the imperial rule in the West. The 
number of the doomed clan who were slain in battle, or who commit- 
ted hara-kiri, as defeated soldiers, in accordance with the code of honor 
already established, is set down at six thousand eight hundred. 

All over the empire the people rose up against their oppressors and 
massacred them. The Hojo domination, which had been paramount 
for nearly one hundred and fifty years, was utterly broken. 

From A.D. 1219 until 1333, the mikados at Kioto were: 

Jnntoku 1211-1231 

Chiukio (reigned four months) 1222 

Go-Horikawa. 1222-1232 

Shijo 1233-1242 

Go-Saga 1243-1246 

Go-Fukakusa 1247-1259 

Kam^yama 1260-1274 

Go-Uda 1275-1287 

Fushimi 1288-1298 

Go-Fushimi 1299-1301 

Go-Nijo 1302-1307 

Hanazono 1308-1318 

Go-Daigo 1319-1338 

From the establishment of Kamakura as military capital, the sho- 
guns were : 


Toritomo 1185-1199 

Yori-iy6 1201-1203 

San6tomo 1203-1219 


Yoritsune" 1220-1243 

Yoritsuga 1244-1251 


Mune-taka 1252-1265 

Kor^yasu 1266-1289 

Hisaakira 1289-1307 

Morikuni 1308-1333 


The Hojo have never been forgiven for their arbitrary treatment 
of the mikados. The author of the Nikon Guai Shi terms them 
" serpents, fiends, beasts," etc. To this day, historian, dramatist, novel- 
ist, and story-teller delight to load them with vilest obloquy. Even 
the peasants keep alive the memory of the past. One of the most 
voracious and destructive insects is still called the " Hojo bug." A 
great annual ceremony of extermination of these pests keeps alive the 
hated recollection of their human namesakes. The memory of the 
wrongs suffered by the imperial family goaded on the soldiers in the 
revolution of 1868, who wreaked their vengeance on the Tokugawas, 
as successors of the Hojo. In fighting to abolish forever the hated 
usurpation of six hundred years, and to restore the mikado to his an- 
cient rightful and supreme authority, they remembered well the deeds 
of the Hojo, which the Nikon Guai Ski so eloquently told. In 1873, 
envoys sent out from the imperial court in Tokio, proceeded to the 
island of Sado, and solemnly removing the remains of the banished 
emperor, who had died of a broken heart, buried them, with due pomp, 
in the sacred soil of Yamato, where sleep so many of the dead mikados. 

I have given a picture of the Hojo rule and rulers, which is but the 
reflection of the Japanese popular sentiment, and the opinion of na- 
tive scholars. There is, however, another side to the story. It must 
be conceded that the Hojo were able rulers, and kept order and peace 
in the empire for over a century. They encouraged literature, and 
the cultivation of the arts and sciences. During their period, the re- 
sources of the country were developed, and some branches of useful 
handicraft and fine arts were brought to a perfection never since sur- 
passed. To this time belong the famous image-carver, sculptor, and 
architect, Unkei, and the lacquer-artists, who are the "old masters" 
in this branch of art. The military spirit of the people was kept 
alive, tactics were improved, and the methods of governmental admin- 
istration simplified. During this period of splendid temples, monaster- 
ies, pagodas, colossal images, and other monuments of holy zeal, Hojo 
Sadatoki erected a monument over the grave of Kiyomori at Hiogo. 
Hojo Tokimune raised and kept in readiness a permanent war-fund, 
so that the military expenses might not interfere with the revenue 
reserved for ordinary government expenses. To his invincible cour- 
age, patriotic pride, and indomitable energy are due the vindication 
of the national honor and the repulse of the Tartar invasion. 




THE religion founded by Buddha, which is older by six centuries 
than that founded by Christ, which is professed by nearly one-third 
of the human race, which has a literature perhaps larger than all other 
religious literatures combined, I shall not attempt to treat of except in 
the broadest terms. My object in this chapter is to portray the en- 
trance and development of Buddhism in Japan, to outline its rise and 
progress, and to show its status in that now fermenting nation in 
which its latest fruits are found. 

Christians must surely be interested in knowing of the faith they 
are endeavoring to destroy, or, at least, to displace. When it is con- 
sidered that Buddhist temples are already erected upon American soil, 
that a new development of this ancient faith may yet set itself up as 
a rival of Christianity in the Western part of our country, that it has 
already won admirers, if not professors, in Boston, London, and Ber- 
lin, the subject will be seen to possess an immediate interest. 

Buddhism originated as a pure atheistic humanitarianism, with a 
lofty philosophy and a code of morals higher, perhaps, than any 
heathen religion had reached before, or has since attained. Its three 
great distinguishing characteristics are atheism, metempsychosis, and 
absence of caste. First preached in a land accursed by secular and 
spiritual oppression, it acknowledged no caste, and declared all men 
equally sinful and miserable, and all equally capable of being freed 
from sin and misery through knowledge. It taught that the souls of 
all men had lived in a previous state of existence, and that all the sor- 
rows of this life are punishments for sins committed in a previous 
state. Each human soul has whirled through countless eddies of ex- 
istence, and has still to pass through a long succession of birth, pain, 
and death. All is fleeting. Nothing is real. This life is all a de- 
lusion. After death, the soul must migrate for ages through stages 
of life, inferior or superior, until, perchance, it arrives at last in Nir- 
vana, or absorption in Buddha. 


The total extinction of being, personality, and consciousness is the 
aspiration of the vast majority of true believers, as it should be of 
every suffering soul, i. e., of all mankind. The true estate of the hu- 
man soul, according to the Buddhist of the Buddhists, is blissful an- 
nihilation. The morals of Buddhism are superior to its metaphysics. 
Its commandments are the dictates of the most refined morality. 
Besides the cardinal prohibitions against murder, stealing, adultery, 
lying, drunkenness, and unchastity, " every shade of vice, hypocrisy, 
anger, pride, suspicion, greediness, gossiping, cruelty to animals, is 
guarded against by special precepts. Among the virtues recommend- 
ed, we find not only reverence of parents, care of children, submission 
to authority, gratitude, moderation in time of prosperity, submission 
in time of trial, equanimity at all times ; but virtues such as the duty 
of forgiving insults, and not rewarding evil with evil." Whatever the 
practice of the people may be, they are taught, as laid down in their 
sacred books, the rules thus summarized above. 

Such, we may glean, was Buddhism in its early purity. Besides its 
moral code and philosophical doctrines, it had almost nothing. An 
"ecclesiastical system" it was not in any sense. Its progress was 
rapid and remarkable. Though finally driven out of India, it swept 
through Burmah, Siam, China, Thibet, Manchuria, Eastern Siberia, 
and finally, after twelve centuries, entered Japan. By this time the 
bare and bald original doctrines of Shaka (Buddha) were glorious in 
the apparel with which Asiatic imagination and priestly necessity had 
clothed and adorned them. The ideas of Shaka had been expanded 
into a complete theological system, with all the appurtenances of a 
stock religion. It had a vast and complicated ecclesiastical and mo- 
nastic machinery, a geographical and sensuous paradise, definitely lo- 
cated hells and purgatories, populated with a hierarchy of titled de- 
mons, and furnished after the most approved theological fashion. Of 
these the priests kept the keys, regulated the thermometers, and timed 
or graded the torture or bliss. The system had, even thus early, a 
minutely catalogued hagiology. Its eschatology was well outlined, 
and the hierarchs claimed to be as expert in questions of casuistry as 
they were at their commercial system of masses still in vogue. Gen- 
eral councils had been held, decrees had been issued, dogmas defined 
or abolished ; Buddhism had emerged from philosophy into religion. 
The Buddhist missionaries entered Japan having a mechanism perfect- 
ly fitted to play upon the fears and hopes of an ignorant people, and 
to bring them into obedience to the new and aggressive faith. 



If there was one country in which the success of Buddhism as a 
popular religion seemed foreordained, that country was Japan. It 
was virgin soil for any thing that could be called a religion. Before 
Buddhism came, very little worthy of the name existed. Day by 
day, each new ray of the light of research that now falls upon that 
gray dawn of Japanese history* shows that Shinto was a pale and 
shadowy cult, that consisted essentially of sacrificing to the spirits of 
departed heroes and ancestors, with ceremonies of bodily purification, 
and that the coming of Buddhism quickened it, by the force of oppo- 
sition, into something approaching a religious system. Swarms of 
petty deities, who have human passions, and are but apotheosized his- 
torical heroes, fill the pantheon of Shinto. The end and aim of even 
its most sincere adherents and teachers is political. Strike out the 
dogma of the divinity of the mikado and the duty of all Japanese to 
obey him implicity, and almost nothing is left of modern Shinto but 
Chinese cosmogony, local myth, and Confucian morals.* 

If the heart of the ancient Japanese longed after a solution of the 
questions whence? whither? why? if it yearned for religious truth, 
as the hearts of all men doubtless do it must have been ready to wel- 
come something more certain, tangible, and dogmatic than the bland 
emptiness of Shinto. Buddhism came to touch the heart, to fire the 
imagination, to feed the intellect, to offer a code of lofty morals, to 
point out a pure life through self-denial, to awe the ignorant, and to 
terrify the doubting. A well fed and clothed Anglo-Saxon, to whom 

* " I have long endeavored to find out what there is in Shinto, but have long 
given it up, unable to find any thing to reward my labor, excepting a small book 
of Shinto prayers, in which man was recognized as guilty of the commission of 
sin, and in need of cleansing." J. C. HEPBURN, M.D., LL.D., American, seventeen 
years resident in Japan, author of the ''Japanese-English and English-Japanese Dic- 

"Shinto is In no proper sense of the term a religion." "It is difficult to see 
how it could ever have been denominated a religion." "It has rather the look 
of an original Japanese invention." Rev. S. R. BROWN, D.D., American, author 
of "A Grammar of Colloquial Japanese," seventeen years resident in Japan. 

My own impressions of Shinto,- given in an article in The Independent in 1871, 
remain unaltered after five years' further study and comparison of opinions, pro 
and con: "In its higher forms, Shinto is simply a cultured and intellectual athe- 
ism. In Its lower forms, it is blind obedience to governmental and priestly dic- 
tates." The united verdict given me by native scholars, and even Shinto officials, 
in Fukui and Tokio, was, " Shinto is not a religion : it is a system of government 
regulations, very good to keep alive patriotism among the people." The effect- 
ual, and quite justifiable, use made of this tremendous political engine will be 
seen in the last chapter of Book I., entitled " The Recent Revolutions in Japan." 


conscious existence seems the very rapture of joy, and whose soul 
yearns for an eternity of life, may not understand how a human soul 
could ever long for utter absorption of being and personality, even in 
God, much less for total annihilation. 

But, among the Asiatic poor, where ceaseless drudgery is often the 
lot for life, where a vegetable diet keeps the vital force low, where 
the tax-gatherer is the chief representative of government, where the 
earthquake and the typhoon are so frequent and dreadful, and where 
the forces of nature are feared as malignant intelligences, life does 
not wear such charms as to lead the human soul to long for an eterni- 
ty of it. No normal Japanese would thrill when he heard the unex- 
plained announcement, " The gift of God is eternal life," or, " Whoso- 
ever believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Such 
words would be painful to him, announcing only a fateful fact. To 
him life is to be dreaded ; not because death lies at the end of it, but 
because birth and life again follow death, and both are but links in an 
almost endless chain. Herein lies the power of Buddhist preaching : 
" Believe in the true doctrine, and live the true believer's life," says 
the bonze, " and you will be born again into higher states of existence, 
thence into higher and higher heavens, until from paradise you rise 
as a purified and saintly soul, to be absorbed in the bosom of holy 
Buddha. Reject the truth, or believe false doctrine (e; g., Christiani- 
ty), and you will be born again thousands of times, only to suffer 
sickness and pain and grief, to die or be killed a thousand times, and, 
finally, to sink into lower and lower hells, before you can regain the 
opportunity to rise higher." This is really the popular form of 
Shaka's doctrine of metempsychosis. The popular Buddhism of Ja- 
pan, at least, is not the bare scheme of philosophy which foreign 
writers seem to think it is. It is a genuine religion in its hold on 
man. It is a vinculum that binds him to the gods of his fathers. 
This form of Buddhism commended itself to both the Japanese sage 
and the ignorant boor, to whom thought is misery, by reason of its 
definiteness, its morals, its rewards, and its punishments. 

Buddhism has a cosmogony and a theory of both the microcosm 
and the macrocosm. It has fully as much, if not more, " science " in 
it than our mediaeval theologians found in the Bible. Its high intel- 
lectuality made noble souls yearn to win its secrets, and to attain the 
conquests over their lusts and passions, by knowledge. 

Among the various sects of Buddhism, however, the understanding 
of the doctrine of Nirvana varies greatly. Some believe in the total 


nonentity of the human soul, the utter annihilation of consciousness ; 
while others, on the contrary, hold that, as part of the divine whole, 
the human soul enjoys a measure of conscious personality. 

Persecution and opposition at first united together the adherents of 
the new faith, but success and prosperity gave rise to schisms. New 
sects were founded in Japan, while many priests traveled abroad to 
Corea and China, and came back as new lights and reformers, to found 
new schools of thought and worship. Of these the most illustrious 
was Kobo, famed not only as a scholar in Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese, 

Kubd Dnishi, Inventor of the Japanese Syllabary. (Prom a photograph, taken from a 
wooden statue in a temple at Kioto.) 

but as an eminently holy bonze, and the compiler of the Japanese al- 
phabet, or syllabary, i, ro, ha, ni, ho, he, to, etc., in all forty-seven char- 
acters, which, with diacritical points, may be increased to the number 
of seventy. The katagana is the square, the hiragana is the script 
form. Kobo was born A.D. 774 ; and died A.D. 835. He founded a 
temple, and the sect called Shin Gon (True Words). Eight sects 
were in existence in his time, of which only two now survive. 

The thirteenth of the Christian era is the golden century of Japa- 
nese Buddhism; for then were developed those phases of thought 
peculiar to it, and sects were founded, most of them in Kioto, which 
are still the most flourishing in Japan. Among these were, in 1202, 
the Zen (Contemplation); in 1211, the Jodo (Heavenly Road); in 
1262, the Shin (New) ; in 1282, the Nichiren. In various decades of 


the same century several other important sects originated, and the 
number of brilliant intellects that adorned the priesthood at this pe- 
riod is remarkable. Of these, only two can be noticed, for lack of 

In A.D. 1222, there was bom, in a suburb of the town of Kominato, 
in Awa, a child who was destined to influence the faith of millions, 
and to leave the impress of his character and intellect indelibly upon 
the minds of his countrymen. He was to found a new sect of 
Buddhism, which should grow to be one of the largest, wealthiest, 
and most influential in Japan, and to excel them all in proselyting 
zeal, polemic bitterness, sectarian bigotry, and intolerant arrogance. 
The Nichiren sect of Buddhists, in its six centuries of history, has 
probably furnished a greater number of brilliant intellects, uncompro- 
mising zealots, unquailing martyrs, and relentless persecutors than 
any other in Japan. No other sect is so fond of controversy. The 
bonzes of none other can excel those of the Nichiren shiu (sect) in 
proselyting zeal, in the bitterness of their theological arguments, in 
the venom of their revilings, or the force with which they hurl their 
epithets at those who differ in opinion or practice from them. In 
their view, all other sects than theirs are useless. According to their 
vocabulary, the adherents of Shin Gon are " not patriots ;" those of 
Ritsu are " thieves and rascals ;" of Zen, are " furies ;" while those of 
certain other sects are sure and without doubt to go to hell. Among 
the Nichirenites are to be found more prayer-books, drums, and other 
noisy accompaniments of revivals, than in any other sect. They ex- 
cel in the number of pilgrims, and in the use of charms, spells, and 
amulets. Their priests are celibates, and must abstain from wine, fish, 
and all flesh. They are the Ranters of Buddhism. To this day, a re- 
vival-meeting in one of their temples is a scene that often beggars de- 
scription, and may deafen weak ears. What with prayers incessantly 
repeated, drums beaten unceasingly, the shouting of devotees who 
work themselves into an excitement that often ends in insanity, and 
sometimes in death, and the frantic exhortation of the priests, the 
wildest excesses that seek the mantle of religion in other lands are by 
them equaled, if not excelled. To this sect belonged Kato Kiyomasa, 
the bloody persecutor of the Christians in the sixteenth century, the 
" vir ter execrandus " of the Jesuits, but who is now a holy saint in 
the calendar of canonized Buddhists. 

Nichiren (sun-lotus) was so named by his mother, who at concep- 
tion had dreamed that the sun (nichi) had entered her body. This 


story is also told of other mothers of Japanese great men, and seems 
to be a favorite stock-belief concerning the women who bear children 
that afterward become men of renown or exalted holiness. The boy 
grew up surrounded by the glorious scenery of mountain, wave, shore, 
and with the infinity of the Pacific Ocean before him. He was a 
dreamy, meditative child. He was early put under the care of a holy 
bonze, but when grown to manhood discarded many of the old doc- 
trines, and, being dissatisfied with the other sects, resolved to found 
one, the followers of which should be the holders and exemplars of 
the pure truth. 

Nichiren was a profound student of the Buddhist classics, or sutras, 
brought from India, and written in Sanskrit and Chinese, for the en- 
tire canon of Buddhist holy books has at various times been brought 
from India or China, and translated into Chinese in Japan. Here- 
tofore, the common prayer of all the Japanese Buddhists had been 
"JVamu, Amida Butsu " (Hail, Amida Buddha ! or, Save us, Eternal 
Buddha!). Nichiren taught that the true invocation was " Namu 
mid ho ren ge kid " (Glory to the salvation-bringing book of the law ; 
or, literally, Hail, the true way of salvation, the blossom of doctrine). 
This is still the distinctive prayer of the Nichiren sect. It is inscribed 
on the temple curtains, on their tombstones and wayside shrines, and 
was emblazoned on the banners carried aloft by the great warriors on 
sea and land who belonged to the sect. The words are the Chinese 
translation of Mamah Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, one of the chief 
canonical books of the Buddhist Scriptures, and in use by all the sects. 
Nichiren professed to find in it the true and only way of salvation, 
which the other expounders of Shaka's doctrine had not properly 
taught. He declared that the way as taught by him was the true 
and only one. 

Nichiren founded numerous temples, and was busy during the 
whole of his life, when not in exile, in teaching, preaching, and itin- 
erating. He published a book called Ankoku Ron ("An Argument to 
tranquilize the Country "). The bitterness with which he attacked oth- 
er sects roused up a host of enemies against him, who complained to 
Hojo Tokoyori, the shikken, or holder of the power, at Kamakura, and 
prayed to have him silenced, as a destroyer of the public peace, as in- 
deed the holy man was. The title of his book was by no means an 
exponent of its tone or style. 

Nichiren was banished to Cape Ito, in Idzu, where he remained 
three years. On his release, instead of holding his tongue, he allowed 


it to run more violently than ever against other sects, especially de- 
crying the great and learned priests of previous generations. II6J6 
Tokoyori again arrested him, confined him in a dungeon below 
ground, and condemned him to death. 

The following story is told, and devoutly believed, by his followers : 
On a certain day he was taken out to a village on the strand of the 
bay beyond Kamakura, and in front of the lovely island of Enoshima. 
This village is called Koshigoye. At this time Nichiren was forty- 
three years old. Kneeling down upon the strand, the saintly bonze 
calmly uttered his prayers, and repeated "Namu mid ho ren ge kid " 
upon his rosary. The swordsman lifted his blade, and, with all his 
might, made the downward stroke. Suddenly a flood of blinding 
light burst from the sky, and smote upon the executioner and the offi- 
cial inspector deputed to witness the severed head. The sword-blade 
was broken in pieces, while the holy man was unharmed. At the 
same moment, Ho jo, the Lord of Kamakura, was startled at his revels 
in the palace by the sound of rattling thunder and the flash of light- 
ning, though there was not a cloud in the sky. Dazed by the awful 
signs of Heaven's displeasure, Hojo Tokoyori, divining that it was on 
account of the holy victim, instantly dispatched a fleet messenger to 
atay the executioner's hand and reprieve the victim. Simultaneously 
the official inspector at the still unstained blood-pit sent a courier to 
beg reprieve for the saint whom the sword could not touch. The 
two men, coming from opposite directions, met at the small stream 
which the tourist still crosses on the way from Kamakura to Enoshi- 
ma, and it was thereafter called Yukiai (meeting on the way) River, a 
name which it retains to this day. Through the pitiful clemency and 
intercession of Hojo Tokimune, son of the Lord of Kamakura, Nichi- 
ren was sent to Sado Island. He was afterward released by his bene- 
factor in a general amnesty. Nichiren founded his sect at Kioto, and 
it greatly flourished under the care of his disciple, his reverence Ni- 
chizo. After a busy and holy life, the great saint died at Ikgami, a 
little to north-west of the Kawasaki railroad station, between Yokoha- 
ma and Tokio, where the scream of the locomotive and the rumble of 
the railway car are but faintly heard in its solemn shades. There are 
to be seen gorgeous temples, pagodas, shrines, magnificent groves and 
cemeteries. The dying presence of Nichiren has lent this place pecul- 
iar sanctity ; but his bones rest on Mount Minobu, in the province of 
Kai, where was one of his homes when in the flesh. See Frontispiece. 

While in Japan, I made special visits to many of the places rendered 


most famous by Nichiren, of his birth, labors, triumph, and death, and 
there formed the impressions of his work and followers which I have 
in this chapter set forth. So far as I am able to judge, none of the 
native theologians has stamped his impress more deeply on the relig- 
ious intellect of Japan than has Nichiren. It may be vain prophecy, 
but I believe that Christianity in Japan will find its most vigorous 
and persistent opposers among this sect, and that it will be the last to 
yield to the now triumphing faith that seems clasping the girdle of 
world-victory in Japan. 

Their astonishing success and tremendous power, and their intoler- 
ance and bigotry, are to be ascribed to the same cause the precision, 
distinctness, and exclusiveness of the teachings of their master. In 
their sacred books, and in the sermons of their bonzes, the Nichirenites 
are exhorted to reflect diligently upon the peculiar blessings vouch- 
safed to them as a chosen sect, and to understand that they are fa- 
vored above all others in privilege, that their doctrines are the only 
true ones, and that perfect salvation is attainable by no other method 
or system. It is next to impossible for them to fraternize with other 
Buddhists, and they themselves declare that, though all the other sects 
may combine into one, yet they must remain apart, unless their tenets 
be adopted. The proscription of other sects, and the employment of 
reviling and abuse as a means of propagation introduced by Nichiren, 
was a comparatively new thing in Japan. It stirred up persecution 
against the new faith and its followers ; and this, coupled with the in- 
vincible fortitude and zeal of the latter, were together as soil and seed. 

The era and developments of Nichiren may be called the second 
revival of Buddhism in Japan, since it infused into that great religion, 
which had, at the opening of the thirteenth century, reached a stage 
of passive quiescence, the spirit of proselytism which was necessary to 
keep it from stagnant impurity and heartless formality. 

Though the success of Nichiren inaugurated an era of zeal and big- 
otry, it also awoke fresh life into that power which is the best repre- 
sentative of the religious life of the nation. Whether we call Bud- 
dhism a false or a true religion, even the most shallow student of the 
Japanese people must acknowledge that the pure religious, as well as 
the superstitious, character of the masses of the Japanese people has 
been fostered and developed more by Buddhism than by any and all 
other influences. 

Some of the superstitions of the Nichirenites are gross and revolt- 
ing, but among their beliefs and customs is the nagare kanjo (flowing 


invocation). I shall call it " the mother's memorial." It is practiced 
chiefly by the followers of Nichiren, though it is sometimes employed 
by other sects. 

A sight not often met with in the cities, but in the suburbs and 
country places frequent as the cause of it requires, is the nagare 
kanjo (flowing invocation). A piece of cotton cloth is suspended by 
its four corners to stakes set in the ground near a brook, rivulet, or, 
if in the city, at the side of the water-course which fronts the houses 
of the better classes. Behind it rises a higher, lath-like board, notched 
several times near the top, and inscribed with a brief legend. Rest- 
ing on the cloth'at the brookside, or, if in the city, in a pail of water, 
is a wooden dipper. Perhaps upon the four corners, in the upright 
bamboo, may be set bouquets of flowers. A careless stranger may 
not notice the odd thing, but a little study of its parts reveals the 
symbolism of death. The tall lath tablet is the same as that set be- 
hind graves and tombs. The ominous Sanskrit letters betoken death. 
Even the flowers in their bloom call to mind the tributes of affection- 
ate remembrance which loving survivors set in the sockets of the mon- 
uments in the grave-yards. On the cloth is written a name such as 
is given to persons after death, and the prayer, "Namu mid ho ren 
ge kio " (Glory to the salvation-bringing Scriptures). Waiting long 
enough, perchance but a few minutes, there may be seen a passer-by 
who pauses, and, devoutly offering a prayer with the aid of his rosary, 
reverently dips a ladleful of water, pours it upon the cloth, and waits 
patiently until it has strained through, before moving on. 

All this, when the significance is understood, is very touching. It 
is the story of vicarious suffering, of sorrow from the brink of joy, of 
one dying that another may live. It tells of mother-love and mother- 
woe. It is a mute appeal to every passer-by, by the love of Heaven, 
to shorten the penalties of a soul in pain. 

The Japanese (Buddhists) believe that all calamity is the result of 
sin either in this or a previous state of existence. The mother who 
dies in childbed suffers, by such a death, for some awful transgression, 
it may be in a cycle of existence long since passed. For it she must 
leave her new-born infant, in the full raptures of mother-joy, and sink 
into the darkness of Hades, to wallow in a lake of blood. There 
must she groan and suffer until the " flowing invocation " ceases, by 
the wearing-out of the symbolic cloth. When this is so utterly worn 
that the water no longer drains, but falls through at once, the freed 
spirit of the mother, purged of her sin, rises to resurrection among 


the exalted beings of a higher cycle of existence. Devout men, as 
they pass by, reverently pour a ladleful of water. Women, especial- 
ly those who have felt mother-pains, and who rejoice in life and lov- 
ing offspring, repeat the expiatory act with deeper feeling; but the 
depths of sympathy are fathomed only by those who, being mothers, 
are yet bereaved. Yet, as in presence of nature's awful glories the 
reverent gazer is shocked by the noisy importunity of the beggar, so 
before this sad and touching memorial the proofs of sordid priest- 
craft chill the warm sympathy which the sight even from the heart 
of an alien might evoke. 

The cotton cloth inscribed with the prayer and the name of the de- 
ceased, to be efficacious, can be purchased only at the temples. I have 
been told, and it is no secret, that rich people are able to secure a 
napkin which, when stretched but a few days, will rupture, and let the 
water pass through at once. The poor man can get only the stout- 
est and most closely woven fabric. The limit of purgatorial penance 
is thus fixed by warp and woof, and warp and woof are gauged by 
money. The rich man's napkin is scraped thin in the middle. Nev- 
ertheless, the poor mother secures a richer tribute of sympathy from 
her humble people ; for in Japan, as in other lands, poverty has many 
children, while wealth mourns for heirs ; and in the lowly walks of 
life are more pitiful women who have felt the woe and the joy of 
motherhood than in the mansions of the rich. 

In Echizen, especially in the country towns and villages, the custom 
is rigidly observed; but though I often looked for the nagare kanjo 
in Tokio, I never saw one. I am told, however, that they may be 
seen in the outskirts of the city. The drawing of one seen near Ta- 
kefu, in Echizen, was made for me by my artist-friend Ozawa, a num- 
ber of whose sketches appear in this work. 

The Protestants of Japanese Buddhism are the followers of Shin 
shiu, founded by his reverence Shinran, in 1262. Shinran was a 
pupil of Honen, who founded the Jodo shiu, and was of noble de- 
scent. While in Kioto, at thirty years of age, he married a lady of 
noble blood, named Tamayori- hime, the daughter of the Kuambaku. 
He thus taught by example, as well as by precept, that marriage was 
honorable, and that celibacy was an invention of the priests, not war- 
ranted by pure Buddhism. Penance, fasting, prescribed diet, pil- 
grimages, isolation from society, whether as hermits or in the cloister, 
and generally amulets and charms, are all tabooed by this sect. Nun- 
neries and monasteries are unknown within its pale. The family 

Belfry of a Buddhist Temple iu Ozaka. 


takes the place of monkish seclusion. Devout prayer, purity, and 
earnestness of life, and trust in Buddha himself as the only worker of 
perfect righteousness, are insisted upon. Other sects teach the doc- 
trine of salvation by works. Shinran taught that it is faith in Buddha 
that accomplishes the salvation of the believer. 

Buddhism seems to most foreigners who have studied it but Roman 
Catholicism without Christ, and in Asiatic form. The Shin sect hold 
a form of the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith, believing 
in Buddha instead of Jesus. Singleness of purpose characterizes this 
sect. Outsiders call it Ikko, from the initial word of a text in their 
chief book, Murioju Kid (" Book of Constant Life "). By others it 
is spoken of as Monto (gate-followers), in reference to their unity of 
organization. The Scriptures of other sects are written in Sanskrit 
and Chinese, which only the learned are able to read. 

Those of Monto are in the vernacular Japanese writing and idiom. 
Other sects build temples in sequestered places among the hills. The 
Shin - shiuists erect theirs in the heart of cities, on main streets, in 
the centres of population. They endeavor, by every means in their 
power, to induce the people to come to them. In Fukui their twin 
temples stood in the most frequented thoroughfares. In Tokio, Oza- 
ka, Kioto, Nagasaki, and other cities, the same system of having twin 
temples in the heart of the city is pursued, and the largest and finest 
ecclesiastical structures are the duplicates of this sect. The altars are 
on a scale of imposing magnificence, and gorgeous in detail. A com- 
mon saying is, "As handsome as a Monto- altar." The priests marry, 
rear families, and their sons succeed them to the care of the temples. 
In default of male issue, the husband of the daughter of the priest, 
should he have one, takes the office of his father-in-law. Many mem- 
bers of the priesthood and their families are highly educated, perhaps 
more so than the bonzes of any other sect. Personal acquaintance 
with several of the Monto priests enables me to substantiate this fact 
asserted of them. 

The followers of Shinran have ever held a high position, and have 
wielded vast influence in the religious development of the people. 
Both for good and evil they have been among the foremost of active 
workers in the cause of religion. In time of war the Monto bonzes 
put on armor, and, with their families and adherents, have in numer- 
ous instances formed themselves into military battalions. We shall 
hear more of their martial performances in succeeding chapters. 

After the death of Shinran, Rennio, who died in 1500, became the 


revivalist of Monto, and wrote the Ofumi, or sacred writings, which 
are now daily read by the disciples of this denomination. With the 
characteristic object of reaching the masses, they are written in the 
common script hirogana writing, which all the people of both sexes 
can read. Though greatly persecuted by other sectaries, they have 
continually increased in numbers, wealth, and power, and now lead all 
in intelligence and influence. To the charges of uncleanness which 
others bring against them, because they marry wives, eat and drink 
and live so much like unclerical men, they calmly answer, the bright 
rays of the sun shine on all things alike, and that it is not for them to 
call things unclean which have evidently been created for man's use ; 
that righteousness consists neither in eating nor drinking, nor in absti- 
nence from the blessings vouchsafed to mortals in this vale of woe ; 
and that the maxims and narrow-minded doctrines, with the neglect 
of which they are reproached, can only have proceeded from the folly 
or vanity of men. They claim that priests with families are purer 
men than celibates in monasteries, and that the purity of society is 
best maintained by a married priesthood. Within the last two decades 
they were the first to organize their theological schools on the model 
of foreign countries, that their young men might be trained to resist 
Shinto or Christianity, or to measure the truth in either. The last 
new charge urged against them by their rivals is that they are so 
much like Christians, that they might as well be such out and out. 
Liberty of thought and action, an incoercible desire to be free from 
governmental, traditional, ultra-ecclesiastical, or Shinto influence in 
a word, Protestantism in its pure sense, is characteristic of the great 
sect founded by Shinran. 

To treat of the doctrinal difference and various customs of the dif- 
ferent denominations would require a volume. Japanese Buddhism 
richly deserves thorough study, and a scholarly treatise by itself.* The 

* It is a question worthy the deepest research and fullest inquiry, as to the 
time occupied in converting the Japanese people to the Buddhist faith. It is 
not probable, as some foreigners believe, that Wani (see page 76) brought the 
knowledge of the Indian religion to Japan. The Nihvngi gives the year 552 as 
that in which Buddhist books, images, rosaries, altar furniture, vestments, etc., 
were bestowed as presents at the imperial palace, and deposited in the court of 
ceremony. The imported books were diligently studied by a few court nobles, 
and in 584 several of them openly professed the new faith. In 585, a frightful pes- 
tilence that broke out was ascribed by the patriotic opponents of the foreign faith 
to the anger of the gods against the new religion. A long and bitter dispute fol- 
lowed, and some of the new temples and idols were destroyed. In spite of patri- 
otism and conservative zeal, the worship and ritual were established in the pal- 


part played by the great Buddhist sects in the national drama of histo- 
ry in later centuries will be seen as we proceed in our narrative. 

ace, new missionaries were invited from Corea, and in 634 two bonzes were given rank, as primate and vice-primate. Temples were erected, and, at the 
death of a bonze, in 700, his body was disposed of by cremation a new thing in 
Japan. In 741, an imperial decree, ordering the erection of two temples and a 
seven-storied pagoda in each province, was promulgated. In 765, a priest became 
Dai J6 Dai Jin. In 827, a precious relic one of Shaka's (Buddha's) bones was 
deposited in the palace. The masterstroke of theological dexterity was made 
early in the ninth century, when K6b6, who had studied three years in China, 
achieved the reconciliation of the native belief and the foreign religion, made 
patriotism and piety one, and laid the foundation of the permanent and univer- 
sal success of Buddhism in Japan. This Japanese Philo taught that the Shinto 
deities, or gods, of Japan were manifestations, or transmigrations, of Buddha in 
that country, and, by his scheme of dogmatic theology, secured the ascendency 
of Buddhism over Shinto and Confucianism. Until near the fourteenth century, 
however, Buddhism continued to be the religion of the official, military, and edu- 
cated classes, but not of the people at large. Its adoption by all classes may be 
ascribed to the missionary labors of Shinran and Nichiren, whose banishment 
to the North and East made them itinerant apostles. Shinran traveled on foot 
through every one of the provinces north and east of Kioto, glorying in his exile, 
everywhere preaching, teaching, and making new disciples. It may be safely 
said that it required nine hundred years to convert the Japanese people from 
fetichism and Shinto to Buddhism. 

It is extremely difficult to get accurate statistics relating to Japanese Bud- 
dhism. The following table was compiled for me by a learned bonze of the Shin 
denomination, in the temple of Nishi Honguanji, in Tsukiji, Tokio. I have com- 
pared it with data furnished by an ex-priest in Fukui, and various laymen. 

The ecclesiastical centre of Japan has always been at Kioto. The chief temples 
and monasteries of each sect were located there. 


ChWSecUCShiu). ToUl Number 

of Temple*. 

I. TendaL Founded by Chisha, in China : 3 sub-sects 6,391 

II. Shiugon. Founded by Kobo, in Japan, A.B. 813: 3 sub-sects 15,603 

IIL Zen. Founded by Darma, in Japan : 6 sub-sects 21,647 

IV. Jodo. Founded by Honen, in Japan, 1173 : 2 sub-sects 9,819 

V. Shin. Founded by Shiuran, in Japan, 1213 : 5 sub-secte 13,718 

VI. Nichiren. Founded by Nichiren, in Japan, 1262: 2 sub-sects 

VH. Ji. Founded by Ippen, in Japan, 1288 686 

Besides the above, there are twenty-one "irregular," "local," or "independ- 
ent" sects, which act apart from the others, and in some cases have no temples 
or monasteries. A number of other sects have originated in Japan, flourished for 
a time, decayed, and passed out of existence. According to the census of 1872, 
there were in Japan 211,846 Buddhist religtewx of both sexes and all grades and 
orders. Of these, 75,925 were priests, abbots, or monks, 9 abbesses ; 37,327 were 
reckoned as novices or students, and 98,585 were in monasteries or families 
(mostly of Shin sect) ; 151,677 were males, 60,159 were females, and 9,621 were 
nuns. By the census of 1875, the returns gave 207,669 Buddhist religieitx, of 
whom 148,807 were males, and 58,862 females. 





DURING the early centuries of the Christian era, friendly intercourse 
was regularly kept up between Japan and China. Embassies were 
dispatched to and fro on various missions, but chiefly with the mutual 
object of bearing the congratulations to an emperor upon his accession 
to the throne. It is mentioned in the " Gazetteer of Echizen " (Echi- 
zen Koku Mei Seiki Ko) that embassadors from China, with a retinue 
and crew of one hundred and seventy-eight persons, came to Japan 
A.D. 776, to bear congratulations to the mikado, Konin Tenno. The 
vessel was wrecked in a typhoon off the coast of Echizen, and but 
forty-six of the company were saved. They were fed and sheltered in 
Echizen. In A.D. 779, the Japanese embassy, returning from China, 
landed at Mikuni, the sea -port of Fukui. In 883, orders were sent 
from Kioto to the provinces north of the capital to repair the bridges 
and roads, bury the dead bodies, and remove all obstacles, because the 
envoys of China were coming that way. The civil disorders in both 
countries interrupted these friendly relations in the twelfth century, 
and communications ceased until they were renewed again in the time 
of the Hojo, in the manner now to be described. 

In China, the Mongol Tartars had overthrown the Sung dynasty, 
and had conquered the adjacent countries. Through the Coreans, the 
Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan, at whose court Marco Polo and his 
uncles were then residing, sent letters demanding tribute and hom- 
age from Japan. Chinese envoys came to Kamakura, but Hojo Toki- 
mune, enraged at the insolent demands, dismissed them in disgrace. 
Six embassies were sent, and six times rejected. 

An expedition from China, consisting of ten thousand men, was 
sent against Japan. They landed at Tsushima and Iki. They were 
bravely attacked, and their commander slain. All Kiushiu having 
roused to arms, the expedition returned, having accomplished nothing. 
The Chinese emperor now sent nine envoys, who announced their pur- 
pose to remain until a definite answer was returned to their master. 
They were called to Kamakura, and the Japanese reply was given by 


cutting off their heads at the village of Tatsu no kuchi (Mouth of the 
Dragon), near the city. The Japanese now girded themselves for the 
war they knew was imminent. Troops from the East were sent to 
guard Kioto. Munitions of war were prepared, magazines stored, cas- 
tles repaired, and new armies levied and drilled. Boats and junks 
were built to meet the enemy on the sea. Once more Chinese en- 
voys came to demand tribute. Again the sword gave the answer, and 
their heads fell at Daizaifu, in Kiushiu, in 1279. 

Meanwhile the armada was preparing. Great China was coming to 
crush the little strip of land that refused homage to the invincible con- 
queror. The army numbered one hundred thousand Chinese and Tar- 
tars, and seven thousand Coreans, in ships that whitened the sea as 
the snowy herons whiten the islands of Lake Biwa. They numbered 
thirty-five hundred in all. In the Seventh month of the year 1281, 
the tasseled prows and fluted sails of the Chinese junks greeted the 
straining eyes of watchers on the hills of Daizaifu. The armada 
sailed gallantly up, and ranged itself off the castled city. Many of 
the junks were of immense proportions, larger than the natives of 
Japan had ever seen, and armed with the engines of European war- 
fare, which their Venetian guests had taught the Mongols to con- 
struct and work. The Japanese had small chance of success on the 
water ; as, although their boats, being swifter and lighter, were more 
easily managed, yet many of them were sunk by the darts and huge 
stones hurled by the catapults mounted on their enemy's decks. In 
personal prowess the natives of Nippon were superior. Swimming 
out to the fleet, a party of thirty boarded a junk, and cut off the 
heads of the crew ; but another company attempting to do so, were 
all killed by the now wary Tartars. One captain, Kusanojiro, with a 
picked crew, in broad daylight, sculled rapidly out to an outlying junk, 
and, in spite of a shower of darts, one of which took off his left arm, 
ran his boat along-side a Chinese junk, and, letting down the masts, 
boarded the decks. A hand-to-hand fight ensued, and, before the ene- 
my's fleet could assist, the daring assailants set the ship on fire and 
were off, carrying away twenty-one heads. The fleet now ranged it- 
self in a cordon, linking each vessel to the other with an iron chain. 
They hoped thus to foil the cutting-out parties. Besides the cata- 
pults, immense bow-guns shooting heavy darts were mounted on their 
decks, so as to sink all attacking boats. By these means many of the 
latter were destroyed, and more than one company of Japanese who 
expected victory lost their lives. Still, the enemy could not effect a 


landing in force. Their small detachments were cut off or driven into 
the sea as soon as they reached the shore, and over two thousand 
heads were among the trophies of the defenders in the skirmishes. A 
line of fortifications many miles long, consisting of earth -works and 
heavy palisading of planks, was now erected along-shore. Behind 
these the defenders watched the invaders, and challenged them to 

There was a Japanese captain, Michiari, who had long hoped for 
this invasion. He had prayed often to the gods that he might have 
opportunity to fight the Mongols. He had written his prayers on pa- 
per, and, learning them, had solemnly swallowed the ashes. He was 
now overjoyed at the prospect of a combat. Sallying out from be- 
hind the breastwork, he defied the enemy to fight. Shortly after, he 
filled two boats with brave fellows and pushed out, apparently un- 
armed, to the fleet. " He is mad," cried the spectators on shore. 
" How bold," said the men on the fleet, " for two little boats to attack 
thousands of great ships ! Surely he is coming to surrender himself." 
Supposing this to be his object, they refrained from shooting. When 
within a few oars-lengths, the Japanese, flinging out ropes with grap- 
pling-hooks, leaped on the Tartar junk. The bows and spears of the 
latter were no match for the two-handed razor-like swords of the Jap- 
anese. The issue, though for a while doubtful, was a swift and com- 
plete victory for the men who were fighting for their native land. 
Burning the junk, the surviving victors left before the surrounding 
ships could cut them off. Among the captured was one of the high- 
est officers in the Mongol fleet. 

The whole nation was now roused. Re - enforcements poured in 
from all quarters to swell the host of defenders. From the monas- 
teries and temples all over the country went up unceasing prayer to 
the gods to ruin their enemies and save the land of Japan. The em- 
peror and ex-emperor went in solemn state to the chief priest of Shin- 
to, and, writing out their petitions to the gods, sent him as a messen- 
ger to the shrines at Is6. It is recorded, as a miraculous fact, that at 
the hour of noon, as the sacred envoy arrived at the shrine and offered 
the prayer the day being perfectly clear a streak of cloud appeared 
in the sky, which soon overspread the heavens, until the dense masses 
portended a storm of awful violence. 

One of those cyclones, called by the Japanese tai-fu, or okaze, of 
appalling velocity and resistless force, such as whirl along the coasts 
of Japan and China during late summer and early fall of every year, 


btirst.upon the Chinese fleet. Nothing can withstand these maelstroms 
of the air. We call them typhoons ; the Japanese say tai-fu, or //.. 
(great wind). Iron steamships of thousands of horse -power are al- 
most unmanageable in them. Junks are hdpless : the Chinese ships 
were these only. They were butted together like mad bulls. They 
were impaled on the rocks, dashed against the cliffs, or tossed on land 
like corks from the spray. They were blown over till they careened 
and filled. Heavily freighted with human beings, they sunk by hun- 
dreds. The corpses were piled on the shore, or floating on the water 
so thickly that it seemed almost possible to walk thereon. Those 
driven out to sea may have reached the main-land, but were probably 
overwhelmed. The vessels of the survivors, in large numbers, drifted to 
or were wrecked upon Taka Island, where they established themselves, 
and, cutting down trees, began building boats to reach Corea. Here 
they were attacked by the Japanese, and, after a bloody struggle, all the 
fiercer for the despair on the one side and the exultation on the other, 
were all slain or driven into the sea to be drowned, except three, who 
were sent back to tell their emperor how the gods of Japan had de- 
stroyed their armada. The Japanese exult in the boast that their gods 
and their heaven prevailed over the gods and the heaven of the Chinese. 

This was the last time that China ever attempted to conquer Japan, 
whose people boast that their land has never been defiled by an invad- 
ing army. They have ever ascribed the glory of the destruction of 
the Tartar fleet to the interposition of the gods at Ise, who thereafter 
received special and grateful adoration as the guardian of the seas and 
winds. Great credit and praise were given to the lord of Kamakura, 
Hojo Tokimune, for his energy, ability, and valor. The author of 
the Guai Shi says, " The repulse of the Tartar barbarians by Toki- 
mune, and his preserving the dominions of our Son of Heaven, were 
sufficient to atone for the crimes of his ancestors." 

Nearly six centuries afterward, when " the barbarian " Perry anchor- 
ed his fleet in the Bay of Yedo, in the words of the native annalist, 
" Orders were sent by the imperial court to the Shinto priests at Ise 
to offer up prayers for the sweeping-away of the barbarians." Mill- 
ions of earnest hearts put up the same prayers as their fathers had 
offered, fully expecting the same result. 

To this day the Japanese mother in Kiushiu hushes her fretful in- 
fant by the question, "Do you think the Mogu (Mongols) are com- 
ing ?" This is the only serious attempt at invasion ever made by any 
nation upon the shores of Japan. 




THE first step taken after the overthrow of the military usurpation 
at Kamakura was to recall the mikado Go-Daigo from exile. With 
the sovereign again in full power, it seemed as though the ancient and 
rightful government was to be permanently restored. The military or 
dual system had lasted about one hundred and fifty years, and patriots 
now hoped to see the country rightly governed, without intervention 
between the throne and the people. The rewarding of the victors 
who had fought for him was the first duty awaiting the restored exile. 
The methods and procedure of feudalism were now so fixed in the 
general policy of the Government, that Go-Daigo, falling into the 
ways of the Minamoto and Hojo, apportioned military fiefs as guer- 
dons to his vassals. Among them was Ashikaga Takauji, to whom 
was awarded the greatest prize, consisting of the rich provinces of 
Hitachi, Musashi, and Shimosa. To Kusunoki Masashige were given 
Settsu and Kawachi; and to Nitta, Kodzuke and Harima, besides 
smaller fiefs to many others. 

This unfair distribution of spoils astounded the patriots, who ex- 
pected to see high rank and power conferred upon Nitta and Kusuno- 
ki, the chief leaders in the war for the restoration, and both very able 
men. It would have been well had the emperor seen the importance 
of disregarding the claims and privileges of caste, and exalted to high- 
est rank the faithful men who were desirous of maintaining the dig- 
nity of the throne, and whose chief fear was that the duarchy would 
again arise. Such a fear was by no means groundless, for Ashikaga, 
elated at such unexpected favor, became inflamed with a still higher 
ambition, and already meditated refounding the shogunate at Kama- 
kura, and placing his own family upon the military throne. Being of 
Minamoto stock, he knew that he had prestige and popularity in his 
favor, should he attempt the re-erection of the shogunate. Most of 
the common soldiers had fought rather against Hojo than against du- 
archy. The emperor was warned against this man by his ministers ; 


but in this case a woman's smiles and caresses and importunate words 
were more powerful than the advice of sages. Ashikaga had bribed 
the mikado's concubine Kadoko, and had so won her favor that she 
persuaded her imperial lord to bestow excessive and undeserved honor 
on the traitor. 

The distribution of spoils excited discontent among the soldiers, 
who now began to lose all interest in the cause for which they had 
fought, and to murmur privately among themselves. " Should such 
an unjust government continue," said they, " then are we all servants 
of concubines and dancing -girls and singing -boys. Rather than be 
the puppets of the mikado's amusers, we would prefer a shogun again, 
and become his vassals." Many of the captains and smaller clan-leaders 
were also in bad humor over their own small shares. Ashikaga Taka- 
uji took advantage of this feeling to make himself popular among the 
disaffected, especially those who clung to arms as a profession and 
wished to remain soldiers, preferring war to peace. Of such inflamma- 
ble material the latent traitor was not slow to avail himself when it 
suited him to light the flames of war. 

Had the mikado listened to his wise counselor, and also placed Ku- 
sunoki in an office commensurate with his commanding abilities, and 
rewarded Nitta as he deserved, the century of anarchy and bloodshed 
which followed might have been spared to Japan. 

Go-Daigo, who in the early years of his former reign had been a 
man of indomitable courage and energy, seems to have lost the best 
traits of his character in his exile, retaining only his imperious will 
and susceptibility to flattery. To this degenerate Samson a Delilah 
was not wanting. He fell an easy victim to the wiles of one man, 
though the shears by which his strength was shorn were held by a 
woman. Ashikaga was a consummate master of the arts of adulation 
and political craft. He was now to further prove his skill, and to 
verify the warnings of Nitta and the ministers. The emperor made 
Moriyoshi, his own son, shogun. Ashikaga, jealous of the appoint- 
ment, and having too ready access to the infatuated father's ear, told 
him that his son was plotting to get possession of the throne. Mori- 
yoshi, hating the flatterer, and stung to rage by the base slander, 
marched against him. Ashikaga now succeeded by means of his ally 
in the imperial bed in making himself, in the eyes of the mikado, the 
first victim to the conspiracies of the prince. So great was his power 
over the emperor that he obtained from the imperial hand a decree to 
punish his enemy Moriyoshi as a ckotelri, or rebel, against the mikado. 


Here we have a striking instance of what, in the game of Japanese 
state-craft, may be called the checkmate move, or, in the native idiom, 
Ote, " king's hand." It is difficult for a foreigner to fully appreciate 
the prestige attaching to the mikado's person a prestige never dimin- 
ishing. No matter how low his actual measure of power, the meanness 
of his character, or the insignificance of his personal abilities, he was 
the Son of Heaven, his word was law, his command omnipotent. He 
was the fountain of all rank and authority. No military leader, how- 
ever great his resources or ability, could win the popular heart or 
hope for ultimate success unless appointed by the emperor. He who 
held the Son of Heaven in his power was master. Hence it was the 
constant aim of all the military leaders, even down to 1868, to obtain 
control of the imperial person. However wicked or villainous the 
keeper of the mikado, he was master of the situation. His enemies 
were choteki, or rebels against the Son of Heaven ; his own soldiers 
were the kuan-gun, or loyal army. Even might could not make right. 
Possession of the divine person was more than nine-tenths it was 
the whole of the law. 

Moriyoshi, then, being choteki, was doomed. Ashikaga, having the 
imperial order, had the kuan-gun, and was destined to win. The sad 
fate of the emperor's son awakens the saddest feelings, and brings 
tears to the eyes of the Japanese reader even at the present day. He 
was seized, deposed, sent to Kamakura, and murdered in a subter- 
ranean dungeon in the Seventh month of the year 1335. 

His child in exile, the heart of the emperor relented. The scales 
fell from his eyes. He saw that he had wrongly suspected his son, 
and that the real traitor was Ashikaga. The latter, noticing the 
change that had come over his master, left Kioto secretly, followed by 
thousands of the disaffected soldiery, and fled to Kamakura, which he 
had rebuilt, and began to consolidate his forces with a view of again 
erecting the Eastern capital, and seizing the power formerly held by 
the Hojo. Nitta had also been accused by Ashikaga, but, having 
cleared himself in a petition to the mikado, he received the imperial 
commission to chastise his rival. In the campaign which followed, 
the imperial forces were so hopelessly defeated that the quondam im- 
perial exile now became a fugitive. With his loyal followers he left 
Kioto, carrying with him the sacred emblems of authorit}% 

Ashikaga, though a triumphant victor, occupied a critical position. 
He was a choteki. As such he could never win final success. He 
had power and resources, but, unlike others equally usurpers, was not 


clothed with authority. He was, in popular estimation, a rebel of the 
deepest dye. In such a predicament he could not safely remain a 
day. The people would take the side of the emperor. What should 
he do J His vigor, acuteness, and villainy were equal. The Hojo had 
deposed and set up emperors. It was Ashikaga who divided the alle- 
giance of the people, gave Japan a War of the Roses (or Chrysanthe- 
mums), tilled the soil for feudalism, and lighted the flames of war 
that made Kioto a cock-pit, abandoned the land for nearly two cent- 
uries and a half to slaughter, ignorance, and paralysis of national prog- 
ress. To clothe his acts with right, he made a new Son of Heaven. 
He declared Kogen, who was of the royal family, emperor. In 1 336, 
this new Son of Heaven gave Ashikaga the title of Sei-i Tai Shogun. 
Kamakura again became the military capital. The duarchy was re- 
stored, and the War of the Northern and the Southern Dynasties be- 
gan, which lasted fifty-six years. 

Ashikaga Takanji, Sei-i Tai Shogan. (From a photograph taken from a wooden statne 
in a temple in Kioto.) 

The period 1333-1336, though including little more than two 
years of time, is of great significance as marking the existence of a 
temporary mikadoate. The fact that it lasted so short a time, and 
that the duarchy was again set up on its ruins, has furnished both na- 
tives and foreigners with the absurd and specious, but strongly urged, 
argument that the Government of Japan, by a single ruler from a sin- 
gle centre, is an impossibility, and that the creation of a dual sys- 
tem with a " spiritual " or nominal sovereign in one part of the em- 
pire, and a military or "secular" ruler in another, is a necessity. 


During the agitation of the question concerning the abolition of the 
dual system, and the restoration of the mikado in 1860-1868, one of 
the chief arguments of the adherents of the shogunate against the 
scheme of the agitators, was the assertion that the events of the period 
1333-1336 proved that the mikado could not alone govern the coun- 
try, and that it must have duarchy. Even after the overthrow of the 
"Tycoon" in 1868, foreigners, as well as natives, who had studied 
Japanese history, fully believed and expected that in a year or two 
the present mikado's Government would be overthrown, and the " Ty- 
coon " return to power, basing their belief on the fact that the mika- 
doate of 1333-1336 did not last. Whatever force such an argu- 
ment might have had when Japan had no foreign relations, and no 
aliens on her soil to disturb the balance between Kioto and Kama- 
kura, it is certain that it counts for naught when, under altered condi- 
tions, more than the united front of all Japan is now required to cope 
with the political pressure from without. To talk seriously, as men 
outside the lunatic asylum still do in this 8th year of Meiji (En- 
lightened Peace), of the Japanese empire the 2536th, and of our 
Lord 1876, in Japanese and English about "the return of the 'Ty- 
coon' to power" is to utter drivel and solecism exceeding those of 
Rip Van Winkle on his return to Sleepy Hollow. 




THE dynasty of the imperial rulers of Japan is the oldest in the 
world. No other family line extends so far back into the remote 
ages as the nameless family of mikados. Disdaining to have a fami- 
ly name, claiming descent, not from mortals, but from the heavenly 
gods, the imperial house of the Kingdom of the Rising Sun occupies 
a throne which no plebeian has ever attempted to usurp. Through- 
out all the vicissitudes of the imperial line, in plenitude of power or 
abasement of poverty, its members deposed or set up at the pleasure 
of the upstart or the political robber, the throne itself has remained 
unshaken. Unclean hands have not been laid upon the ark itself. 
As in the procession of life on the globe the individual perishes, the 
species lives on, so, though individual mikados have been dethroned, 
insulted, or exiled, the prestige of the line has never suffered. The 
loyalty or allegiance of the people has never swerved. The soldier 
who would begin revolution, or who lusted for power, would make 
the mikado his tool ; but, however transcendent his genius and abili- 
ties, he never attempted to write himself mikado. No Japanese Caesar 
ever had his Brutus, nor Charles his Cromwell, nor George his Wash- 
ington. Not even, as in China, did one dynasty of alien blood over- 
throw another, and reign in the stead of a destroyed family. Such 
events are unknown in Japanese annals. The student of this people 
and their unique history can never understand them or their national 
life unless he measures the mightiness of the force, and recognizes the 
place of the throne and the mikado in the minds and hearts of its 

There are on record instances in which the true heirship was de- 
clared only after bitter intrigue, quarrels, or even bloodshed. In the 
tenth century, Taira no Masakado, disappointed in not being appoint- 
ed Dai Jo Dai Jin, left Kioto, went to Shimosa in the Kuanto, and set 
himself up as Shinno, or cadet of the imperial line, and temporarily 


ruled the eight provinces of the East as a pseudo-mikado.* In 1139, 
the military families of Taira and Minamoto came to blows in Kioto 
over the question of succession between the rival heirs, Shutoku and 
Go-Shirakawa. The Taira being victors, their candidate became mikado. 
During the decay of the Taira, they fled from Kioto, carrying with 
them, as true emperor, with his suite and the sacred insignia, Antoku, 
the child, five years old, who was drowned in the sea when the Taira 
were destroyed. The Minamoto at the same time recognized Gotoba. 

It may be more analogical to call the wars of the Gen and Hei, with 
their white and red flags, the Japanese Wars of the Roses. Theirs was 
the struggle of rival houses. Now, we are to speak of rival dynasties, 
each with the imperial crysanthemum. 

In the time of the early Ashikagas (1336-1390) there were two 
mikados ruling, or attempting to rule, in Japan. The Emperor Go- 
Daigo had chosen his son Kuniyoshi as his heir, but the latter died 
in 1326. Kogen, son of the mikado Go-Fushimi (1299-1301), was 

* Taira no Masakado, or, as we should say, Masakado Taira, was a man of great 
energy and of unscrupulous character. He was at first governor of Shimosa, but 
aspired to rule over all the East. He built a palace on the same model as that 
of the mikado, at Sajima, in Shimotsuke", and appointed officers similar to those 
at the imperial court. He killed his uncle, who stood in the way of his ambition. 
To revenge his father's death, Sadamori, cousin to Masakado, headed two thou- 
sand men, attacked the false mikado, and shot him to death with an arrow, car- 
rying his head as trophy and evidence to Kioto, where it was exposed on the pil- 
lory. Shortly after his decease, the people of Musashi, living on the site of mod- 
era Tokio, being greatly afflicted by the troubled and angry spirit of their late 
ruler, erected a temple on the site within the second castle enceinte near Kanda 
Bridge, and in that part of the city district of Kanda (God's Field) now occupied 
by the Imperial Treasury Department. This had the effect of soothing the un- 
quiet ghost, and the land had rest ; and later generations, mindful of the power 
of a spirit that in life ruled all the Kuanto, and in death could afflict or give peace 
to millions at will, worshiped Masakado under the posthumous name of Kanda 
Mio Jin (Illustrious Deity of Kanda), his history having been forgotten, or trans- 
figured into the form of a narrative, which to doubt was sin. When Iye"yasu, in 
the latter end of the sixteenth century, made Yedo his capital, he removed the 
shrine to a more eligible location on the hill in the rear of the Kanda River and 
the Suido, where, later, the university stood, and erected an edifice of great splen- 
dor, surrounded by groves and grounds of surpassing loveliness. This was per- 
haps only policy, to gain the popular favor by honoring the local gods ; but it 
stirred up some jealousy among the " mikado-reverencers " and students of his- 
tory who knew the facts. Some accused him of treasonable designs like those of 
Masakado. In 1868, when the mikado's troops arrived in Yedo, they rushed to 
the temple of Kanda Mio Jin, and, pulling out the idol or image of the deified 
Masakado, hacked it to pieces with their swords, wishing the same fate to all 
traitors. Thus, after nine centuries, the traitor received a traitor's reward, a 
clear instance of historic justice in the eyes of native patriots. 


then made heir. Go - Daigo's third son Moriyoshi, however, as he 
grew up, showed great talent, and his father regretted that he had 
consented to the choice of Kogen, and wished his own son to succeed 
him. He referred the matter to Hojo at Kamakura, who disapproved 
of the plan. Those who hated Hojo called Kogen the " false emper- 
or," refusing to acknowledge him. When Nitta destroyed Kamakura, 
and Go-Daigo was restored, Kogen retired to obscurity. No one for 
a moment thought of or acknowledged any one but Go-Daigo as true 
and only mikado. When, however, Ashikaga by his treachery had 
alienated the emperor from him, and was without imperial favor, and 
liable to punishment as a rebel, he found out and set up Kogen as 
mikado, and proclaimed him sovereign. Civil war then broke out. 

Into the details of the war between the adherents of the North- 
ern emperor, Ashikaga, with his followers, on the one side, and Go- 
Daigo, who held the insignia of authority, backed by a brilliant array 
of names famous among the Japanese, on the other, I do not propose 
to enter. It is a confused and sickening story of loyalty and treach- 
ery, battle, murder, pillage, fire, famine, poverty, and misery, such as 
make up the picture of civil wars in every country. Occasionally in 
this period a noble deed or typical character shines forth for the ad- 
miration or example of succeeding generations. Among these none 
have exhibited more nobly man's possible greatness in the hour of 
death than Nitta Yoshisada and Kusunoki Masashige. 

On one occasion the army of Nitta, who was fighting under the flag 
of Go-Daigo, the true emperor, was encamped before that of Ashika- 
ga. To save further slaughter, Nitta sallied out alone, and, approach- 
ing his enemy's camp, cried out : " The war in the country continues 
long. Although this has arisen from the rivalry of two emperors, 
yet its issue depends solely upon you and me. Rather than millions 
of the people should be involved in distress, let us determine the ques- 
tion by single combat." The retainers of Ashikaga prevailed on their 
commander not to accept the challenge. In 1338, on the second day 
of the Seventh month, while marching with about fifty followers to 
assist in investing a fortress in Echizen, he was suddenly attacked in 
a narrow path in a rice-field near Fukui by about three thousand of 
the enemy, and exposed without shields to a shower of arrows. Some 
one begged Nitta, as he was mounted, to escape. " It is not my de- 
sire to survive my companions slain," was his response. Whipping 
up his horse, he rode forward to engage with his sword, making him- 
self the target for a hundred archers. His horse, struck when at full 


speed by an arrow, fell. Nitta, on clearing himself and rising, was hit 
between the eyes with a white-feathered shaft, and mortally wounded. 
Drawing his sword, he cut off his own head a feat which the war- 
riors of that time were trained to perform so that his enemies might 
not recognize him. He was thirty-eight years old. His brave little 
band were slain by arrows, or killed themselves with their own hand, 
that they might die with their master. The enemy could not recog- 
nize Nitta, until they found, beneath a pile of corpses of men who 
had committed hara-kiri, a body on which, inclosed in a damask bag, 
was a letter containing the imperial commission in Go-Daigo's hand- 
writing, " I invest you with all power to subjugate the rebels." Then 
they knew the corpse to be that of Nitta. His head was carried to 
Kioto, then in possession of Ashikaga, and exposed in public on a 
pillory. The tomb of this brave man stands, carefully watched and 
tended, near Fukui, in Echizen, hard by the very spot where he fell. 
I often passed it in my walks, when living in Fukui in 1871, and no- 
ticed that fresh blooming flowers were almost daily laid upon it the 
tribute of an admiring people. A shrine and monument in memoriam 
were erected in his native place during the year 1875. 

The brave Kusunoki, after a lost battle at Minatogawa, near Hiogo, 
having suffered continual defeat, his counsels having been set at 
naught, and his advice rejected, felt that life was no longer honorable, 
and solemnly resolved to die in unsullied reputation and with a sol- 
dier's honor. Sorrowfully bidding his wife and infant children good- 
bye, he calmly committed hara-kiri, an example which his comrades, 
numbering one hundred and fifty, bravely followed. 

Kusunoki Masashige was one of an honorable family who dwelt in 
Kawachi, and traced their descent to the great-grandson of the thirty- 
second mikado, Bidatsu (A.D. 572-585). The family name, Kusunoki 
(" Camphor "), was given his people from the fact that a grove of 
camphor-trees adorned the ancestral gardens of the mansion. The 
twelfth in descent was the Vice-governor of lyo. The father of Masa- 
shige held land assessed at two thousand koku. His mother, desiring 
a child, prayed to the god Bishamon for one hundred days, and Ma- 
sashige was born after a pregnancy of fourteen months. The mother, 
in devout gratitude, named the boy Tamon (the Sanskrit name of Bish- 
amon), after the god who had heard her prayers. The man-child was 
very strong, and at seven could throw boys of fifteen at wrestling. 
He received his education in the Chinese classics from the priests in 
the temple, and exercised himself in all manly and warlike arts. In 


his twelfth year he cut off the head of an enemy, and at fifteen stud- 
ied the Chinese military art, and made it the solemn purpose of his 
life to overthrow the Kamakura usurpation, and restore the mikado to 
power. In 1330, he took up arms for Go-Daigo. He was several 
times besieged by the Hojo armies, but was finally victorious with 
Nitta and Ashikaga. When the latter became a rebel, defeated Nitta, 
and entered Kioto in force, Kusunoki joined Nitta, and thrice drove 
out the troops of Ashikaga from the capital. The latter then fled 
to the West, and Kusunoki advised the imperialist generals to follow 
them up and annihilate the rebellion. His superiors, with criminal 
levity, neglecting to do this, the rebels collected together, and again 
advanced, with increased strength by land and water, against Kioto, 
having, it is said, two hundred thousand men. Kusunoki's plan of 
operations was rejected, and his advice ignored. With Nitta he was 
compelled to bear the brunt of battle against overwhelming forces at 
Minato gawa, near Hiogo, and was there hopelessly defeated. Kusu- 
noki, now feeling that he had done all that was possible to a subordi- 
nate, and that life was no longer honorable, retired to a farmer's house 
at the village of Sakurai, and there, giving him the sword bestowed 
on himself by the mikado, admonished his son Masatsura to follow 
the soldier's calling, cherish his father's memory, and avenge his fa- 
ther's death. Sixteen of his relatives, with unquailing courage, like- 
wise followed their master in death. 

Of all the characters in Japanese history, that of Knsunoki Masa- 
shige stands pre-eminent for pureness of patriotism, unselfishness of 
devotion to duty, and calmness of courage. The people speak of him 
in tones of reverential tenderness, and, with an admiration that lacks 
fitting words, behold in him the mirror of stainless loyalty. I have 
more than once asked my Japanese students and friends whom they 
considered the noblest character in their history. Their unanimous 
answer was " Kusunoki Masashige." Every relic of this brave man is 
treasured up with religious care ; and fans inscribed with poems writ- 
ten by him, in fac-simile of his handwriting, are sold in the shops and 
used by those who burn to imitate his exalted patriotism.* His son 
Masatsura lived to become a gallant soldier. 

* I make no attempt to conceal my own admiration of a man who acted ac- 
cording to his light, and faced his soldierly ideal of honor, when conscience and 
all his previous education told him that his hour had come, and that to flinch 
from the suicidal thrust was dishonor and sin. No enlightened Japanese of to- 
day would show himself brave by committing hara-kiri, as the most earnest writers, 



The war, which at first was waged with the clearly defined object 
of settling the question of the supremacy of the rival mikados, gradual- 
ly lost its true character, and finally degenerated into a melee and free 
fight on a national scale. Before peace was finally declared, all the 
original leaders had died, and the prime object had been, in a great 
measure, forgotten in the lust for land and war. Even the rival em- 
perors lost much of their interest, as they had no concern in brawls 
by which petty chieftains sought to exalt their own name, and increase 
their territory by robbing their neighbors. In 1392, an envoy from 
Ashikaga persuaded Go-Kameyama to come to Kioto and hand over 
the regalia to Go-Komatsu, the Northern emperor. The basis of 
peace was that Go-Kameyama should receive the title of Dai Jo 
Tenno (ex-emperor), Go-Komatsu be declared emperor, and the throne 
be occupied alternately by the rival branches of the imperial family. 
The ceremony of abdication and surrender of regalia, on the one 
hand, and of investiture, on the other, were celebrated with due 
pomp and solemnity in one of the great temples in the capital, and 
the war of fifty-six years' duration ceased. All this redounded to 
the glory and power of the Ashikaga. 

The period 1336-1392 is of great interest in the eyes of all native 
students of Japanese history. In the Dai Nihon Shi, the Southern 
dynasty are defended as the legitimate sovereigns, and the true de- 
scendants of Ten Sho Dai Jin, the sun -goddess; and the Northern 
dynasty are condemned as mere usurpers. The same view was taken 
by Kitabatake Chikafusa, who was the author of the Japanese Red- 
book, who warned the emperor Go-Daigo against Ashikaga, and in 
1339 wrote a book to prove that Go-Daigo was mikado, and the 
Ashikaga's nominee a usurper. This is the view now held in modern 
Japan, and only those historians of the period who award legitimacy 
to the Southern dynasty are considered authoritative. The Northern 
branch of the imperial family after a few generations became extinct.* 

thinkers, and even soldiers admit. Fukuzawa, the learned reformer and peda- 
gogue, and a chaste and eloquent writer, in one of his works condemns the act 
of Kusunoki, not mentioning him by name, however, as lacking the element of 
true courage, according to the enlightened view. He explains and defends the 
Christian ideas on the subject of suicide. His book created great excitement 
and intense indignation in the minds of the samurai at first; but now he car- 
ries with him the approbation of the leading minds in Japan, especially of the 

* The names of the "Northern," or "False," emperors are Kogen, Kornio, 
Shinko, Go-K6gon, Go-Enyiu, and Go-Komatsu. 




THE internal history of Japan during the period of time covered by 
the actual or nominal rule of the thirteen shoguns of the Ashikaga 
family, from 1336 until 1573, except that portion after the year 1542, 
is not very attractive to a foreign reader. It is a confused picture of 
intestine war. 

Ashikaga Takauji, the founder of the line, was a descendant of the 
Minamoto Yoshikuni, who had settled at Ashikaga, a village in Shi- 
motsuke, in the eleventh century. He died in 1356. His grandson 
Yoshimitsu, called the Great Ashikaga, was made shogun when ten 
years old, and became a famous warrior in the South and West Aft- 
er the union of the two dynasties, he built a luxurious palace at Kio- 
to, and was made Dai Jo Dai Jin. He enjoyed his honors for one 
year. He then retired from the world to become a shaven monk in 
a Buddhist monastery. 

Under the Hojo, the office of shogun was filled by appointment of 
the imperial court ; but under the Ashikaga the office became heredi- 
tary in this family. As usual, the man with the title was, in nearly 
every case, but a mere figure-head, wielding little more personal power 
than that of the painted and gilded simulacrum of the admiral that 
formerly adorned the prow of our old seventy-four-gun ships. During 
this period the term Kubo sama, applied to the shoguns, and used so 
frequently by the Jesuit fathers, came into use. The actual work of 
government was done by able men of inferior rank. The most noted 
of these was Hosokawa Yoriyuki, who was a fine scholar as well as a 
warrior. It was through his ordering that the young shogun Yoshi- 
mitsu was well trained, and had for his companions noble youths who 
excelled in literary and military skill. This was vastly different from 
Hojo Tokimasa's treatment of the sons of Yoritomo. He attempted 
the reform of manners and administration. He issued five mottoes 
for the conduct of the military and civil officers. They were : 1. Thou 
shalt not be partial in amity or enmity. 2. Thou shalt return neither 


favor nor vengeance. 3. Thou shalt not deceive, either with a right 
or a wrong [motive]. 4. Thou shalt not hope dishonestly [for a 
bribe]. 5. Thou shalt not deceive thyself. 

The pendulum of power during this period oscillated between Kio- 
to and Kamakura ; a tai (or " great ") shogun ruling at the former, 
and a shogun at the latter place. An officer called the shikken was 
the real ruler of the capital and the central provinces ; and another 
called the kuan-rei (Governor of the Kuanto), of Kamakura and the 
East. War was the rule, peace the exception. Feudal fights ; border 
brawls; the seizure of lands; the rise of great clans; the building, 
the siege, and the destruction of castles, were the staple events. Every 
monastery was now a stronghold, an arsenal, or a camp. The issue 
of a combat or a campaign was often decided by the support which 
the bonzes gave to one or the other party. The most horrible ex- 
cesses were committed, the ground about Kioto and Kamakura, both 
of which were captured and recaptured many times, became like the 
chitama (blood-pits) of the execution-ground. Villages, cities, temples, 
monasteries, and libraries were burned. The fertile fields lay waste, 
blackened by fire, or covered from sight, as with a cloth, by dense 
thickets of tall weeds, which, even in one summer's time, spring with 
astonishing fecundity from the plethoric soil of Japan. The people 
driven from their homes by war returned to find a new wilderness, re- 
sounding with the din of devouring insects. The people of gentle 
birth fled to mountain caves. Education was neglected. The com- 
mon herd grew up in ignorance and misery. Reading and writing, 
except among the priests and nobles, were unknown arts which the 
warriors scorned. War was the only lucrative trade, except that of 
the armorers or sword-makers. Famine followed on the footsteps of 
war, and with pestilence slew her tens of thousands. Pirates on the 
seas ravaged not only the coasts of Japan, but those of China and 
Corea, adding pillage and rapine to the destruction of commerce. 
The Chinese mothers at Ningpo even now are heard to frighten their 
children by mentioning the names of the Japanese pirates. On land 
the peasantry were impressed' in military service to build castles or in- 
trenched camps; or, the most daring, becoming robbers, made their 
nests in the mountains and plundered the traveler, or descended upon 
the merchant's store-house. Japan was then the paradise of thieves. 
To all these local terrors were added those gendered in the mind of 
man by the convulsions of nature. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, 
floods, tidal waves, typhoons, and storms seem to have been abnormal- 


ly frequent during this period. The public morals became frightfully 
corrupted, religion debased. All kinds of strange and uncouth doc- 
trines came into vogue. Prostitution was never more rampant. It 
was the Golden Age of crime and anarchy. 

The condition of the emperors was deplorable. With no revenues, 
and dwelling in a capital alternately in the possession of one or the 
other hostile army ; in frequent danger from thieves, fire, or starva- 
tion ; exposed to the weather or the dangers of war, the narrative of 
their sufferings excites pity in the mind of even a foreign reader, and 
from the native draws the tribute of tears. One was so poor that he 
depended upon the bounty of a noble for his food and clothing ; an- 
other died in such poverty that his body lay unburied for several 
days, for lack of money to have him interred. The remembrance of 
the wrongs and sufferings of these poor emperors fired the hearts and 
nerved the arms of the men who in 1868 fought to sweep away for- 
ever the hated system by which such treatment of their sovereign be- 
came possible. 

So utterly demoralized is the national, political, and social life of 
this period believed to have been, that the Japanese people make it 
the limbo of all vanities. Dramatists and romancers use it as the 
convenient ground whereon to locate every novel or play, the plot of 
which violates all present probability. The chosen time of the bulk of 
Japanese dramas and novels written during the last century or two is 
that of the late Ashikagas. The satirist or writer aiming at contem- 
porary folly, or at blunders and oppression of the Government, yet 
wishing to avoid punishment and elude the censor, clothes his charac- 
ters in the garb and manners of this period. It is the potter's field 
where all the outcasts and Judases of moralists are buried. By com- 
mon consent, it has become the limbo of playwright and romancer, 
and the scape-goat of chronology. 

The act by which, more than any other, the Ashikagas have earned 
the curses of posterity was the sending of an embassy to China in 
1401, bearing presents acknowledging, in a measure, the authority of 
China, and accepting in return the title of Nippon 0, or King of Ja- 
pan. This, which was done by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third of 
the line, was an insult to the national dignity for which he has never 
been forgiven. It was a needless humiliation of Japan to her arro- 
gant neighbor, and done only to exalt the vanity and glory of the 
usurper Ashikaga, who, not content with adopting the style and equi- 
page of the mikado, wished to be made or called a king, and yet dared 


not usurp the imperial throne.* The punishment of Ashikaga is the 
curse of posterity. In 1853, when the treaty with the United States 
was made, a similar insult to the sovereign and the nation, as well as 
a contemptible deception of the American envoy and foreigners, was 
practiced by the shogun calling himself "Tycoon" (Great King, or 
Sovereign of Japan). In this latter instance, as we know, came not 
the distant anathema of future generations, but the swift vengeance of 
war, the permanent humiliation, the exile to obscurity, of the Tokugawa 
family, and the abolition of the shogunate and the dual system forever. 
It was during the first of the last three decades of the Ashikaga 
period that Japan became known to the nations of Europe; while 
fire-arms, gunpowder, and a new and mighty faith were made known 
to the Japanese nation. 

* The Ashikaga line of shoguns comprised the following : 

1. Takauji 1335-1357 

2. Yoshinori 1358-1367 

3. Yoshmitsu 1368-1393 

4. Yoshimochi 1394-1422 

5. Yoshikadzu 1423-1425 

6. Yoshinori 1428-1440 

7. Yoshikateu 1441-1448 

8. Yoshimasa 1449-1471 

9. Yoshihisa 1472-1489 

10. Yoshitane 1490-1493 

11. YoBhiznmi 1494-1507 

12. Yoshitane (same as 

the 10th) 1508-1520 

13. Yoshiharu 1521-1545 

14. Yoshitern 1546-1567 

15. Yoshiaki ;... 1568-1573 

The term Kubo sama, so often nsed by the Jesuit and Dutch writers, was not 
an official title of the shogun, but was applied to him by the common people. 
When at first anciently used, it referred to the mikado, or, rather, the mikado 
who had abdicated, or preceded the ruling sovereign ; but later, when the people 
saw in the Kamakura court and its master so close an imitation of the imperial 
style and capital, they began gradually to speak of the shogun as the Kubo, with, 
however, only the general meaning of " the governing power," or the nobleman 
who enjoyed the right of riding to the court in a car, and entering the imperial 
palace. The term was in use until 1868, but was never inherent in any office, be- 
ing rather the exponent of certain forms of etiquette, privilege, and display, than 
of official duties. The Jesuit fathers nearly always speak of the mikado as the 
Dairi (see page 39), and at first erroneously termed the daimios " kings." Later 
on, they seemed to have gained a clear understanding of the various titles and 
official relations. In some works the Kuambaku (with dowo, lord, attached) is 
spoken of as " emperor." Nobunaga, who became Nai Dai Jin, is also called 
"emperor." During the supremacy of the military rulers at Kamakura and 
Yedo, the offices and titles, though purely civil, once exclusively given to no- 
bles at the mikado's court, were held by the officials of the shogunate. 




HISTORY, as usually written, gives the impression that the normal 
condition of mankind is that of war. Japanese students who take up 
the history of England to read, lay it down convinced that the En- 
glish people are a blood -loving race that are perpetually fighting. 
They contrast their own peaceful country with the countries of Eu- 
rope, to the detriment of the latter. They turn most gladly from the 
monotonous story of battle, murder, and sieges, to Buckle, Guizot, or 
Lecky, that they may learn of the victories no less renowned than 
those of war which mark as mile-stones the progress of the race. I 
greatly fear that from lack of literary skill my readers will say that 
my story of Japan thus far is a story of bloody war; but such, in- 
deed, it is as told in their own histories. Permanent, universal peace 
was unknown in Japan until, by the genius of lyeyasu in the six- 
teenth century, two centuries and a half of this blessing were secured. 
Nevertheless, in the eight centuries included between the eighth and 
the sixteenth of our era were many, and often lengthened, intervals of 
peace. In many sequestered places the sandal of the warrior and the 
hoof of the war-horse never printed the soil. Peace in the palace, in 
the city, in the village, allowed the development of manners, arts, 
manufactures, and agriculture. In this period were developed the 
characteristic growths of the Japanese intellect, imagination, social 
economy, and manual skill that have made the hermit nation unique 
in the earth and Japanese art productions the wonder of the world. 

In this chapter, I shall simply glance at some of the salient features 
of life in Japan during the Middle Ages. 

The introduction of continental or Chinese civilization into Japan 
was not a simple act of adoption. It was rather a work of selection 
and assimilation. As in this nineteenth century, the Japanese is no 
blind copyist, he improves on what he borrows. Although the travel- 
er from China entering Japan can see in a moment whence the Japa- 
nese have borrowed their civilization, and though he may believe the 


Japanese to be an inferior type to that of the Chinese, he will ac- 
knowledge that the Japanese have improved upon their borrowed ele- 
ments fully as much as the French have improved upon those of 
Roman civilization. Many reflecting foreigners in Japan have asked 
the question why the Japanese are so unlike the Chinese, and why 
their art, literature, laws, customs, dress, workmanship, all bear a stamp 
peculiar to themselves, though they received so much from them ? 
The reason is to be found in the strength and persistence of the 
primal Japanese type of character, as influenced by nature, enabling 
it to resist serious alteration and radical change. The greatest con- 
quests made by any of the imparted elements of continental civiliza- 
tion was that of Buddhism, which became within ten centuries the 
universally popular religion. Yet even its conquests were but partial. 
Its triumph was secured only by its adulteration. Japanese Buddhism 
is a distinct product among the many forms of that Asiatic religion. 
Buddhism secured life and growth on Japanese soil only by being 
Japanized, by being grafted on the original stock of ideas in the Japa- 
nese mind. Thus, in order to popularize the Indian religion, the an- 
cient native heroes and the local gods were all included within the 
Buddhist pantheon, and declared to be the incarnations of Buddha in 
his various forms. A class of deities exist in Japan who are worship- 
ed by the Buddhists under the general name of gongen. They are all 
deified Japanese heroes, warriors, or famous men. Furthermore, many 
of the old rites and ceremonies of Shinto were altered and made use 
of by the bonzes. It may be doubted whether Buddhism could have 
ever been popular in Japan, had it not become thoroughly Japanized. 
Some of the first-fruits of the success of the new religion was the 
erection of temples, pagodas, idols, wayside shrines, monasteries, and 
nunneries ; the adoption of the practice of cremation, until then un- 
known ; and the cessation of the slaughter of animals for food. The 
largest and richest of the ecclesiastical structures were in or near Kioto. 
The priests acted as teachers, advisers, counselors, and scribes, besides 
officiating at the altars, shriving the sick, and attending the sepulture 
of the dead. 

Among the orders and sects which grew and multiplied were many 
similar to those in papal Europe mendicants, sellers of indulgences, 
builders of shrines and images, and openers of mountain paths. The 
monasteries became asylums for the distressed, afflicted, and perse- 
cuted. In them the defeated soldier, the penniless and the dissatisfied, 
the refugee from the vendetta, could find inviolate shelter. To them 


the warrior after war, the prince and the minister leaving the palace, 
the honors and pomp of the world, could retire to spend the remnant 
of their days in prayer, worship, and the offices of piety. Often the 
murderer, struck with remorse, or the soldier before his bloody victim, 
would resolve to turn monk. Not rarely did men crossed in love, or the 
offspring of the concubine displaced by the birth of the legitimate son, 
or the grief-stricken father, devote himself to the priestly life. In 
general, however, the ranks of the bonzes were recruited from orphans 
or piously inclined youth, or from overstocked families. To the nun- 
neries, the fertile soil of bereavement, remorse, unrequited love, wid- 
owhood furnished the greater number of sincere and devout nuns. 
In many cases, the deliberate choice of wealthy ladies, or the necessity 
of escaping an uncongenial marriage planned by relatives, undesirable 
attentions, or the lusts of rude men in unsettled times, gave many an 
inmate to the convents. 

In general, however, natural indolence, a desire to avoid the round 
of drudgery at the well, the hoe, or in the kitchen, or as nurse, sent 
the majority of applicants to knock at the convent doors. Occasion- 
ally a noble lady was won to recluse life from the very apartments 
of the emperor, or his ministers, by the eloquence of a bonze who 
was more zealous than loyal. In a few of the convents, only ladies 
of wealth could enter. The monk and nun, in Japanese as in Eu- 
ropean history, romance, and drama, and art, are staple characters. 
The rules of these monastic institutions forbade the eating of fish or 
flesh, the drinking of sake, the wearing of the hair or of fine clothes, 
indulgence in certain sensuous pleasures, or the reading of certain 
books. Fastings, vigils, reflection, continual prayer by book, bell, 
candle, and beads, were enjoined. Pious pilgrimages were undertaken. 
The erection of a shrine, image, belfry, or lantern by begging contri- 
butions was a frequent and meritorious enterprise. There stand to- 
day thousands of these monuments of the piety, zeal, and industry of 
the mediaeval monks and nuns. Those at Nara and Kamakura are the 
most famous. The Kamakura Dai Butstt (Great Buddha) has been 
frequently described before. It is a mass of copper 44 feet high, and 
a work of high art. The image at Nara was first erected in the eighth 
century, destroyed during the civil wars, and recast about seven hun- 
dred years ago. Its total height is 53^ feet; its face is 16 feet long, 
and 9-^ feet wide. The width of its shoulders is 28-j^j- feet. Nine 
hundred and sixty-six curls adorn its head, around which is a halo 78 
feet in diameter, on which are sixteen images, each 8 feet long. The 



casting of the idol is said to have been tried seven times before it was 
successfully accomplished, and 3000 tons of charcoal were used in the 
operation. The metal, said to weigh 450 tons* is a bronze composed 
of gold (500 pounds), mercury (1954 pounds), tin (16,827 pounds), 
and copper (986,080 pounds). Many millions of tons of copper were 
mined and melted to make these idols. Equally renowned were the 
great temple-bells of Kioto, and of Miidera, and various other monas- 
teries. Some of these were ten feet high, and adorned with sacred 

Temple -bell from Kioto, with Dragon -bow, Inscriptions, Representation of Ten-nin 
(angel), and of Buddha in Nirvana on the Lotus. 

texts from the Buddhist Scriptures, and images of heavenly beings, 
or Buddha on the sacred lotus in Nirvana, in high relief. As usual, 
the nimbus, or halo, surrounds his head. Two dragon-heads formed 
the summit, and ear, by which it was hung to its beam by an iron 
link. The bell was struck on a raised round spot, by a hammer of 
wood a small tree-trunk swung loosely on two ropes. After impact, 
the bellman held the beam on its rebound, until the quivering mono- 
tone began to die away. Few sounds are more solemnly sweet than 


the mellow music of a Japanese temple-bell. On a still night, a cir 
cumference of twenty miles was flooded by the melody of the great 
bell of Zozoji. The people learned to love their temple-bell as a dear 
friend, as its note changed with the years and moods of life. 

The casting of a bell was ever the occasion of rejoicing and public 
festival. When the chief priest of the city announced that one was 
to be made, the people brought contributions in money, or offerings of 
bronze gold, pure tin, or copper vessels. Ladies gave with their own 
hands the mirrors which had been the envy of lovers, young girls laid 
their silver hair-pins and bijouterie on the heap. When metal enough 
and in due proportion had been amassed, crucibles were made, earth- 
furnaces dug, the molds fashioned, and huge bellows, worked by stand- 
ing men at each end, like a seesaw, were mounted; and, after due 
prayers and consultation, the auspicious day was appointed. The 
place selected was usually on a hill or commanding place. The peo- 
ple, in their gayest dress, assembled in picnic parties, and with song 
and dance and feast waited while the workmen, in festal uniform, 
toiled, and the priests, in canonical robes, watched. The fires were 
lighted, the bellows oscillated, the blast roared, and the crucibles were 
brought to the proper heat and the contents to fiery fluidity, the joy 
of the crowd increasing as each stage in the process was announced. 
When the molten flood was finally poured into the mold, the excite- 
ment of the spectators reached a height of uncontrollable enthusiasm. 
Another pecuniary harvest was reaped by the priests before the crowds 
dispersed, by the sale of stamped kerchiefs or paper containing a holy 
text, or certifying to the presence of the purchaser at the ceremony, 
and the blessing of the gods upon him therefor. Such a token be- 
came an heir-loom ; and the child who ever afterward heard the sol- 
emn boom of the bell at matin or evening was constrained, by filial 
as well as holy motives, to obey and reverence its admonitory call 
The belfry was usually a separate building apart from the temple, with 
elaborate cornices and roof. (See page 172.) 

In addition to the offices of religion, many of the priests were use- 
ful men, and real civilizers. They were not all lazy monks or idle 
bonzes. By the Buddhist priests many streams were spanned with 
bridges, paths and roads made, shade or fruit trees planted, ponds and 
ditches for purposes of irrigation dug, aqueducts built, unwholesome 
localities drained, and mountain passes discovered or explored. Many 
were the school-masters, and, as learned men, were consulted on sub- 
jects beyond the ken of their parishioners. Some of them, having a 


knowledge of medicine, acted as physicians. The sciences and arts in 
Japan all owe much to the bonzes who from Corea personally intro- 
duced many useful appliances or articles of food. Several edible veg- 
etables are still named after the priests, who first taught their use. 
The exact sciences, astronomy and mathematics, as well as the human- 
ities, owe much of their cultivation and development to clerical schol- 
ars. In the monasteries, the brethren exercised their varied gifts in 
preaching, study, calligraphy, carving, sculpture, or on objects of ec- 
clesiastical art. 

The monuments by which the memory of many a saintly bonze is 
still kept green exist to-day as treasures on the altars, or in the tem- 
ple or its shady precincts, in winged words or material substance. A 
copy of the Buddhist Scriptures, a sacred classic, in roll or bound vol- 
ume, might occupy a holy penman before his brush and ink-stone for 
years. The manuscript texts which I have often seen in the hall of 
worship on silky paper bound in damask, in Japanese monasteries, 
could not be improved in elegance and accuracy by the printer's art. 
The transcription of a sutra on silk, made to adorn the wall of a shrine, 
in many cases performed its mission for centuries. 

Another monk excelled in improvisation of sacred stanzas, another 
painted the pictures and scrolls by which the multitude were taught 
by the priest, with his pointer in hand, the mysteries of theology, 
the symbols of worship, the terrors of the graded hells and purgato- 
ries, and the felicities of Nirvana. Another of the fraternity, with 
cunning hand, compelled the wonder of his brethren by his skill in 
carving. He could, from a log which to-day had its bark on, bring 
forth in time the serene countenance of Buddha, the ravishing beauty 
of Kuanon, the Goddess of Mercy, the scowling terrors of the God 
of War, the frightful visage of Fudo, or the hideous face of the Lord 
of Hell. Another was famous for molding the clay for the carver, the 
sculptor, or the bronze-smith. Many articles of altar furniture, even 
to the incense-sticks and flowers, were often made entirely by clerical 

During the Middle Ages, the arts of pottery, lacquering, gilding, 
bronze-casting, engraving and chasing, chisel and punch work, sword- 
making, goldsmith's work, were brought to a perfection never since 
excelled, if indeed it has been equaled. In enameled and inlaid metal 
work the hand of the Japanese artisan has undoubtedly lost its cun- 
ning. Native archaeologists assert that a good catalogue of "lost 
arts " may be made out, notably those of the composition and appli- 



cation of violet lacquer, and the ancient cloisonne enamel. The deli- 
cacy of tact, freedom of movement, and perfection of finish visible on 
Japanese work, are the result of long hereditary application and con- 
centrated skill. Hidden away in sequestered villages, or occupying the 
same workshop in cities for centuries, generations of craftsmen wrought 
upon one class of objects, until from the workman's hand is born the 
offspring of a long pedigree of thought and dexterity. Japanese an- 
tiquarians fix the date of the discovery of lacquer-ware variously at 
A.D. 724 and 900. Echizen, from the first, has been noted for the 
abundance and luxuriant yield of lacquer -trees, and the skill of her 

Chasiug Floral Designs from Nature on Copper. 

workmen in extracting the milk-white virgin sap, which the action of 
the air turns to black, and which by pigments is changed to various 
colors. In the thirteenth century the art of gold-lacquering attained 
the zenith of perfection. Various schools of lacquer art were founded, 
one excelling in landscape, another in marine scenery, or the delinea- 
tion, in gold and silver powder and varnish, of birds, insects, and flow- 
ers. The masters who flourished during the Hojo period still rule the 
pencil of the modern artist. 

Kioto, as the civil and military as well as ecclesiastical capital of 
the empire, was the centre and standard of manners, language, and 


etiquette, of art, literature, religion, and government. No people are 
more courtly and polished in their manners than the Japanese, and 
my visit to Kioto in 1873 impressed me with the fact that the citizens 
of this proud miako surpass all others in Japan in refined manners, 
and the graces of address and etiquette. The direct influences of 
court life have made themselves perceptibly felt on the inhabitants of 
the city. 

From this centre radiated the multifarious influences which have 
molded the character of the nation. The country priest came as pil- 
grim to the capital as to the Holy City, to strengthen his faith and 
cheer his soul amidst its inspirations, to see the primate and magnates 
of his sect, to pray at the famous shrines, to study in the largest mon- 
asteries, under the greatest lights and holiest teachers. Returning to 
his parish, new sanctity was shed from his rustling robes. His 
brethren welcomed him with awe, and the people thronged to see and 
venerate the holy man who had drunk at the very fountains of the 
faith. The temple coffers grew heavy with the weight of offerings 
because of him. The sons of the noblemen in distant provinces were 
sent to Kioto to be educated, to learn reading and writing from the 
priests, the perfection of the art of war in the army, the etiquette of 
palace life as pages to, or as guests of, the court nobles. The artisan 
or rich merchant from Oshiu or Kadzusa, who had made the journey 
to Kioto, astonished his wondering listeners at home with tales of the 
splendor of the processions of the mikado, the wealth of the temples, 
the number of the pagodas, the richness of the silk robes of the court 
nobles, and the wonders which the Kioto potters and vase -makers, 
sword -forgers, goldsmiths, lacquerers, crystal-cutters, and bronze-mold- 
ers, daily exposed in their shops in profusion. 

In Kioto also dwelt the poets, novelists, historians, grammarians, 
writers, and the purists, whose dicta were laws. By them were writ- 
ten the great bulk of the classic literature, embracing poetry, drama, 
fiction, history, philosophy, etiquette, and the numerous diaries and 
works on travel in China, Corea, and the remote provinces of the 
country, and the books called " mirrors " (kagami} of the times, now 
so interesting to the antiquarian student. Occasionally nobles or 
court ladies would leave the luxury of the city, and take up their 
abode in a castle, tower, pagoda, or temple room, or on some mountain 
overlooking Lake Biwa, the sea, or the Yodo River, or the plains of 
Yamato ; and amidst its inspiring scenery, with tiny table, ink-stone 
and brush, pen some prose epic or romance, that has since become an 



immortal classic. Almost every mansion of the nobles had its " look- 
ing-room," or " Chamber of Inspiring View," whence to gaze upon the 
landscape or marine scenery. Rooms set apart for this aesthetic pleas- 
ure still form a feature of the house of nearly every modern native of 
means. On many a coigne of vantage may be seen also the summer- 
houses or rustic booths, where gather pleasure parties on picnics. 

Picnic Booth, overlooking Lake Biwa. 

In the civil administration of the empire, the chief work was to 
dispense justice, punish offenders, collect taxes, and settle disputes. 
After the rude surveys of those days, the boundaries of provinces and 
departments were marked by inscribed posts of wood or stone. Be- 
fore the days of writing, the same end was secured by charcoal buried 
in the earth at certain points, the durability of which insured the 
mark against decay. The peasants, after the rice-harvest was over, 
brought their tribute, or taxes, with joyful ceremony, to the govern- 
ment granaries in straw bags, packed on horses gayly decorated with 
scarlet housings, and jingling with clusters of small bells. A relic of 
this custom is seen in the bunches of bells suspended by red cotton 


stuff from the rear of the pack-saddle, which dangle musically from 
the ungainly haunches of the native sumpters. 

From earliest times there existed seki (guard gates or barriers) be- 
tween the various provinces at mountain passes or strategic points. 
As feudalism developed, they grew more numerous. A fence of pal- 
isades, stretched across the road, guarded the path through which, ac- 
cording to time, or orders of the keepers, none could pass with arms, 
or without the pass-word or passport. Anciently they were erected at 
the Hakone and other mountain passes, to keep up the distinction be- 
tween the Ainos and the pure Japanese. The possession of these bar- 
riers was ever an important object of rival military commanders, and 
the shifts, devices, and extraordinary artifices resorted to by refugees, 
disguised worthies, and forbidden characters, furnish the historian, the 
novelist, and dramatist with some of their most thrilling episodes. 

It is related of Yoshitsune, after he had escaped from the monas- 
tery with Benkei, his servant, that he arrived at a guard gate in Kaga, 
kept by some Taira soldiers who would have been sure to arrest him 
had they discovered his august personality. Disguised as wandering 
priests of the Buddhist sect Yama-bushi, they approached the gate, 
and were challenged by the sentinel, who, like most of his class at 
that time, was ignorant of writing. Benkei, with great dignity, draw- 
ing from his bosom a roll of blank paper, began, after touching it 
reverently to his forehead, to extemporize and read aloud in choicest 
and most pious language a commission from the high-priest at the 
temple of Hokoji, in Kioto, in which stood the great image of Buddha, 
authorizing him to collect money to cast a colossal bell for the tem- 
ple. At the first mention of the name of his reverence the renowned 
priest, so talismanic in all the empire, the soldier dropped down on 
his knees with face to the ground, and listened with reverent awe, un- 
aware that the paper was as blank as the reader's tongue was glib. 
To further lull suspicion, Benkei apologized for the rude conduct of 
his servant-boy, who stood during the reading, because he was only a 
boor just out of the rice-fields; and, giving him a kick, bid him get 
down on his marrow-bones, arid not stand up in the presence of a gen- 
tleman and a soldier. The ruse was complete. The illustrious youth 
and his servant passed on. 

Medical science made considerable progress in the course of cent- 
uries. The materia medica, system, practice, and literature of the 
healing art were borrowed from China ; but upon these, as upon most 
other matters, the Japanese improved. Acupuncture, or the introduc- 


tion of needles into the living tissues for remedial purposes, was invent- 
ed by the Japanese. The puncturing needles were as fine as a hair, were 
made of gold, silver, or tempered steel, by experts. The bones, large 
nerves, or blood-vessels were carefully avoided in the process, which 
enjoyed great repute in cases of a peculiar violent colic, to which the 
natives are subject, and which sometimes becomes endemic. On the 
theory that this malady was caused by wind, holes were made in the 
stomach or abdomen, to the mystic number of nine corresponding to 
the nine apertures of the body. Moxa (Japanese, mokusa ; mo, fire, 
from moyeru, to burn, and kusa, herb, grass), or the burning of a 
small cone of cottony fibres of the artemisia, on the back or feet, was 
practiced as early as the eleventh century, reference being made to it 
in a poem written at that time. A number of ancient stanzas and 
puns relating to Mount Ibuki, on the sides of which the mugwort 
grows luxuriantly, are still extant. To this day it is an exception to 
find the backs of the common people unscarred with the spots left by 
the moxa. The use of mercury in corrosive sublimate was very an- 
ciently known. The do-sha powder, however, which was said to cure 
various diseases, and to relax the rigid limbs of a corpse, was manu- 
factured and sold only by the bonzes (Japanese, bozu) of the Shin Gon 
sect. It is, and always was, a pious fraud, being nothing but uneffica- 
cious quartz sand, mixed with grains of mica and pyrites.* 

Of the mediaeval sports and pastimes within and without of doors, 
the former were preferred by the weak and effeminate, the latter by 
the hale and strong. Banquets and carousals in the palace were fre- 
quent. The brewing of sake from rice was begun, according to record, 

* See in Titsingh a long account of the wonderful virtues and effects claimed 
for the do-sha ("dosia") powder, and in various other old writers on Japan, who 
have gravely described this humbug. I once tested this substance thoroughly by 
swallowing a tea-spoonful, without experiencing any effects. It might cause, but 
not cure, a headache. I also used up a packageful of the holy sand, purchased at 
an orthodox Shin Gon temple, upon a stiffened corpse that had but a short time 
previous become such, but no unlimbering of the rigid body took place. I also 
fused a quantity of the certified "drug" with some carbonate of soda, dissolved 
the resultant mass in distilled water, and upon adding a few drops of hydrochloric 
acid, a precipitate of gelatinous silica was the result. I also subjected the do-sha 
to careful microscopic examination, finding it only quartz sand, with flakes of 
other minerals. That the "corpse" in my experiment was that of an old dog 
does not affect the validity of the test. It may be remembered also that gelati- 
nous silica is the substance sometimes used to adulterate butter. The main ob- 
jection to such butter is that one can buy sand in a cheaper form ; and the 
same may be said of that nostrum in the ecclesiastical quackery and materia the- 
dogica of Japan called do-sha. 


in the third century, and the office of chief butler even earlier. The 
native sauce, sko-yu, made of fermented wheat and beans, with salt 
and vinegar, which the cunning purveyors of Europe use as the basis 
of their high-priced piquant sauces, was made and used as early as the 
twelfth century. The name of this saline oil (sho, salt ; yu, oil) ap- 
pears as " soy " in our dictionaries, it being one of the three words 
(soy, bonze, moxa) which we have borrowed from the Japanese. At 
the feasts, besides the wine and delicacies to please the palate, music, 
song, and dance made the feast of reason and the flow of soul, while 
witty and beautiful women lent grace and added pleasure to the fes- 

In long trailing robes of white, crimson, or highly figured silk, with 
hair flowing in luxuriance over the shoulders, and bound gracefully in 
one long tress which fell below the waist behind, maids and ladies 
of the palace rained glances and influence upon the favored ones. 
They fired the heart of admirers* by the bewitching beauty of a well- 
formed hand, foot, neck, face, or form decked with whatever added 
charms cosmetics could bestow upon them. Japanese ladies have 
ever been noted for neatness, good taste, and, on proper occasions, 
splendor and luxuriance of dress. With fan, and waving long sleeve, 
the language of secret but outwardly decorous passion found ample ex- 
pression. Kisses, the pressure of the hand, and other symbols of love 
as expressed in other lands, were then, as now, unknown. In humble 
life also, in all their social pleasures the two sexes met together to 
participate in the same delights, with far greater freedom than is 
known in Asiatic countries. As, however, wives or concubines had 
not always the attractions of youth, beauty, wit, maidenly freshness, 

* The following is the native ideal of a Japanese woman, given by a young 
Japanese gentleman at the International Congress of Orientalists held at Paris 
in 1873 : " I will commence, gentlemen, with the head, which is neither too large 
nor too small. Figure to yourself large black eyes, surmounted by eyebrows 
of a strict arch, bordered by black lashes ; a face oval, white, very slightly rose-col- 
ored on the cheeks, a straight high nose ; a small, regular, fresh mouth, whose 
thin lips disclose, from time to time, white teeth ranged regularly ; a narrow 
forehead, bordered by long, black hair, arched with perfect regularity. Join 
this head by a round neck to a body large, but not fat, with slender loins, hands 
and feet small, but not thin ; a breast whose swell (sattlie) is not exaggerated. 
Add to these the following attributes : a gentle manner, a voice like the night- 
ingale, which makes one divine its artlessness; a look at once lively, sweet, 
gracious, and always charming; witty words pronounced distinctly, accompa- 
nied by charming smiles ; an air sometimes calm, gay, sometimes thoughtful, and 
always majestic ; manners noble, simple, a little proud, but without ever incur- 
ring the accusation of presumption." 



or skill at the koto, the geisha, or singing-girl, then as now, served the 
sake, danced, sung, and played, and was rewarded by the gold or gifts 
of the host, or perhaps became his Hagar. The statement that the 
empress was attended only by " vestals who had never beheld a man " 
is disproved by a short study of the volumes of poetry, amorous and 
otherwise, written by them, and still quoted as classic. As to the 
standard of virtue in those days, I believe it was certainly not below 
that of the later Roman empire, and I am inclined to believe it was 
far above it. 

In the court at Kioto, besides games of skill or chance in the house, 
were foot -ball, cock-fighting, falconry, horsemanship, and archery. 
The robust games of the military classes were hunting the boar, deer, 
bear, and smaller game. Hunting by falcons, which had been intro- 
duced by some Corean em- 
bassadors in the time of 
Jingu Kogo, was almost as 
extensively practiced as in 
Europe, almost every feu- 
dal lord having his perch of 
falcons. Fishing by cor- 
morants, though a useful 
branch of the fisherman's 
industry, was also indulged 
in for pleasure. The se- 
vere exercise of hunting for 
sport, however, never be- 
came as absorbing and pop- 
ular in Japan as in Europe, 
being confined more to the 
professional huntsman, and 
the seeker for daily food. 

Court Lady in Kioto. 


The court ladies shaved off their eyebrows, and painted two sable 
bars or spots on the forehead resembling false eyebrows. In addition 
to the gentle tasks of needle-work and embroidery, they passed the 
time in games of chess, checkers, painted shells, and a diversion pe- 
culiar to the palace, in which the skill of the player depended on 
her sensitiveness in appreciating perfumes, the necessary articles being 
vials of fragrant extracts. Their pets were the peculiar little dogs 
called chin. They stained their teeth black, like the women of the 
lower classes ; an example which the nobles of the sterner sex followed, 
as they grew more and more effeminate. One of the staple diversions 
of both sexes at the court was to write poetry, and recite it to each 
other. The emperor frequently honored a lady or noble by giving 
the chosen one a subject upon which to compose a poem. A happy 
thought, skillfully wrought stanza, a felicitous grace of pantomime, 
often made the poetess a maid of honor, a concubine, or even an 
empress, and the poet a minister or councilor. 

Another favorite means of amusement was to write and read or tell 
stories the Scheherezade of these being a beautiful lady, who often 
composed her own stories. The following instance is abbreviated 
from the Onna Dai Gaku (" Woman's Great Study ") : Ise no Taiyu 
was a daughter of Sukeichika, the mikado's minister of festivals, and 
a highly accomplished lady. None among the ladies of the court could 
equal her. One day a branch of luxuriant cherry-blossoms was 
brought from Nara. The emperor gave it to her, and asked her to 
extemporize a verse. She did so, and the courtiers were all astonished 
at the beauty and delicate sentiment of the verse. 

Here is another : Murasaki Shikibu was the daughter of the lord 
of Echizen. One day a lady of Kamo asked if there was any new 
entertaining literature or novels, as the empress - dowager wished to 
read something new. The lady invited Murasaki to write some sto- 
ries. She, knowing that the great Chinese scholar Shomei completed 
his collection of the essays of ancient writers by building a high house 
and secluding himself in it, had a high tower erected at Ishiyama 
overlooking Lake Biwa, and affording a glorious view of the mount- 
ains, especially in the moonlight. There she retired, and one night 
when the full moon shone upon the waters she was so inspired that 
she wrote in one night two chapters of the Genji Monogatari* a book 

* The various forms of inarticulate language, by pantomime, flowers, art, and 
symbolism, in Japan differ in many respects from those expressed by us. Among 
the gestures partly or wholly unknown to them are nictation, kissing, shaking 


containing fifty-four chapters in all, which she finished in a few weeks. 
She presented it to the empress-dowager, who gave it to the mikado. 
To this day it is a classic. 

Seisho Nagon was the daughter of Kiyowara no Motosakd. She was 
one of the imperial concubines. She was well read in Japanese and 
Chinese literature, and composed poetry almost from infancy, having 
a wonderful facility of improvisation. One day, after a fall of snow, 
she looked out from the southern door of the palace. The emperor, 
having passed round the wine-cup to his lords and ladies at the usual 
morning assembly of the courtiers and maids of honor, said, " How is 

hands, shrugging the shoulders, and the contemptuous gyratory motion of the 
thumb set against the nose, witli the fingers upright. Flirtation is practiced not 
by the use of the fan or the handkerchief (which is of puper), but with a wave of 
the right hand, with palms downward, or by the fair charmer waving her long 
sleeve. Instead of winking, they convey the same meaning by twitching the left 
corner of the mouth, or rolling the eyeballs to the right or left. The girls simper 
by letting their eyelids fall, and the language of woman's eyes is in other respects 
the same as with us, as Japanese poetry shows. Jealousy is indicated by the 
erecting the two forefingers on the forehead, in allusion to the monster which in 
Japan has horns and black hide, but not green eyes. A jilt who wishes to give 
her lover "the mitten" sends him a branch of maple, the color (tro) of whose 
leaves has changed, like her love (iro). 

Turning up the nose and curling the lip in scorn are achieved with masterly 
skill. In agony, the hands are not clasped, but put upright, palm to palm, at 
length. People shake their heads to mean " no," and nod them to mean " yes." 

Among the peculiarities in their code of etiquette, eructation is permissible in 
company at all times, and after a hearty meal is rather a compliment to the host. 
On the other hand, to attend to the requirements of nasal etiquette, except with 
face apart from the company, is very bad manners. Toothpicks must not be 
used, but in a semi-secret way, and with the left hand covering the mouth. At 
banquets, the fragrant bark on these is carved ornamentally, and under a shaving 
loosened from the white wood is written in tiny script a pun, witticism, bon- 
mot, or sentimental proposal, like that on the "secret papers" on bonbons at 
our refreshments. At feasts or daily meals, all such matters as carving, slicing, 
etc., are looked upon as out of place, and properly belonging to servant's work 
and in the kitchen. In clothing, the idea that garments ought to be loose and 
flowing, so as to conceal the shape of the body and its parts, and give no striking 
indication of sex, as among us, was never so general as in China. In hair-dress- 
iug, besides marking age and sex, the female coiffure had a language of its own. 
Generally a keen observer could distinguish a maiden, a married wife, a widow 
who was willing to marry the second time, and the widow who intended never 
to wed again. As marks of beauty, besides the ideals spoken of on page 80, large 
ears were thought desirable, especially those with long lobes. Fat people were 
much admired, and a rotund physique considered a good gift of nature. Many of 
the striking details of military and social etiquette, such as falling on hands and 
knees, with forehead on the floor or on the prone hand, and the simultaneous 
noisy sucking-in of the breath, which sounds and seems BO ridiculous to the for- 
eigner, are very ancient. 


the snow of Kuroho?" No one else understood the meaning, but 
Seisho instantly stepped to the veranda, drew up the curtains, reveal- 
ing the mountains decked in fresh-fallen snow. The emperor was de- 
lighted, and bestowed upon her a prize. Seisho had understood his 
allusion to the line in an ancient poem which ran thus : 

"The snow of Kuroho is seen by raising the curtains." 

Once when a certain kuge was traveling in a province, he came, on 
a moonlight night, to a poor village in which the cottages had fallen 
into picturesque decay, the roofs of which gleamed like silver. The 
sight of the glorified huts inspired the noble with such a fine frenzy 
that he sat up all night gazing rapturously on the scene, anon compos- 
ing stanzas. He was so delighted that he planned to remain in the 
place several days. The next morning, however, the villagers, hear- 
ing of the presence of so illustrious a guest among them, began busily 
to repair the ruin, and to rethatch the roofs. The kuge, seeing all 
his poetic visions dispelled by this vandal industry, ordered his bullock- 
car, and was off, disgusted. 

During the first centuries of writing in Japan, the spoken and the 
written language were identical. With the study of the Chinese liter- 
ature, and the composition of works by the native literati almost ex- 
clusively in that language, grew up differences between the colloquial 
and literary idiom and terminology. The infusion of a large number 
of Chinese words into the common speech steadily increased ; while 
the learned affected a pedantic style of conversation, so interlarded 
with Chinese words, names, and expressions, that to the vulgar their 
discourse was almost unintelligible. Buddhism also made Chinese the 
vehicle of its teachings, and the people everywhere became familiar, 
not only with its technical terms, but with its stock phrases and forms 
of thought. To this day the Buddhist, or sham-religious, way of talking 
is almost a complete tongue in itself, and a good dictionary always 
gives the Buddhistic meaning of a word separately. In reading or 
hearing Japanese, the English-speaking resident continually stumbles 
on his own religious cant and orthodox expressions, which he believes 
to be peculiar to his own atmosphere, that have a meaning entirely 
different from the natural sense: "this vale of tears," "this evil 
world," " gone to his reward," " dust and ashes," " worm of the dust," 
and many phrases which so many think are exclusively Christian or 
evangelical, are echoed in Japanese. So much is this true, that the 
missionaries, in translating religious books, are at first delighted to 


find exact equivalents for many expressions desirable in technical 
theology, or for what may fairly be termed pious slang, but will not 
use them, for fear of misleading the reader, or rather of failing to 
lead him out of his old notions into the new faith which it is desired 
to teach. So general have the use and affectation of Chinese become, 
that in many instances the pedantic Chinese name or word has been 
retained in the mouths of the people, while the more beautiful native 
term is almost lost In general, however, only the men were devoted 
to Chinese, while the cultivation of the Japanese language was left to 
the women. This task the women nobly discharged, fully maintain- 
ing the credit of the native literature. Mr. W. G. Aston says, " I be- 
lieve no parallel is to be found in the history of European letters, to 
the remarkable fact that a very large proportion of the best writings 
of the best age of Japanese literature was the work of women." The 
Genji Monogatari is the acknowledged standard of the language for 
the period to which it belongs, and the parent of the Japanese novel 
This, with the classics Ise Monogatari and Makura Zoshi, and much 
of the poetry of the time, are the works of women. 

It is to be noted that the borrowed Chinese words were taken en- 
tirely from the written, not the colloquial, language of China, the lat- 
ter having never been spoken by the Japanese, except by a few in- 
terpreters at Nagasaki. The Japanese literary style is more concise, 
and retains archaic forms. The colloquial abounds in interjectional 
and onomatopoetic words and particles, uses a more simple inflection 
of the verb, and makes profuse use of honorific and polite terms. 
Though these particles defy translation, they add grace and force to 
the language. As in the English speech, the child of the wedded Saxon 
and Norman, the words which express the wants, feelings, and concerns 
of every-day life all that is deepest in the human heart are for the 
most part native ; the technical, scientific, and abstract terms are for- 
eign. Hence, if we would find the fountains of the musical and beau- 
tiful language of Japan, we must seek them in the hearts, and hear 
them flow from the lips, of the mothers of the Island Empire. Among 
the anomalies with which Japan has surprised or delighted the world 
may be claimed that of woman's achievements in the domain of letters. 
It was woman's genius, not man's, that made the Japanese a litera- 
ry language. Moses established the Hebrew, Alfred the Saxon, and 
Luther the German tongue in permanent form; but in Japan, the 
mobile forms of speech crystallized into perennial beauty under the 
touch of woman's hand. 




JAPAN, of all the Asiatic nations, seems to have brought the feu- 
dal system to the highest state of perfection. Originating and devel- 
oping at the same time as in Europe, it became the constitution of 
the nation and the condition of society in the seventeenth century. 
When in Europe the nations were engaged in throwing off the feudal 
yoke and inaugurating modern government, Japan was riveting the 
fetters of feudalism, which stood intact until 1871. From the begin- 
ning of the thirteenth century, it had come to pass that there were 
virtually two rulers in Japan, and as foreigners, misled by the Hol- 
landers at Deshima, supposed, two emperors. 

The growth of feudalism in Japan took shape and form from the 
early division of the officials into civil and military. As we have seen, 
the Fujiwara controlled all the civil offices, and at first, in time of 
emergency, put on armor, led their troops to battle, and braved the 
dangers of war and the discomforts of the camp. In time, however, 
this great family, yielding to that sloth and luxury which ever seem, 
like an insidious disease, to ruin greatness in Japan, ceased to take the 
field themselves, and delegated the uncongenial tasks of war to certain 
members of particular noble families. Those from which the greatest 
number of shoguns were appointed were the Taira and Minamoto, that 
for several centuries held the chief military appointments. As luxury, 
corruption, intrigue, and effeminacy increased at the capital, the diffi- 
culty of keeping the remote parts of the empire in order increased, 
especially in the North and East. The War J)epartment became dis- 
organized, and the generals at Kioto lost their ability to enforce their 

Many of the peasants, on becoming soldiers, had, on account of their 
personal valor or merit, been promoted to the permanent garrison of 
household troops. Once in the gay capital, they learned the details of 
intrigue and politics. Some were made court pages, or attendants on 
men of high rank, and thus learned the routine of official duty. They 


caught the tone of life at court, where every man was striving for 
rank and his own glory, and they were not slow to imitate their au- 
gust examples. Returning to their homes with the prestige of having 
been in the capital, they intrigued for power in their native districts, 
and gradually obtained rule over them, neglecting to go when duty 
called them to Kioto, and ignoring the orders of their superiors in the 
War Department. The civil governors of the provinces dared not to 
molest, or attempt to bring these petty tyrants to obedience. Having 
armor, horses, and weapons, they were able to train and equip their 
dependents and servants, and thus provide themselves with an armed 

Thus was formed a class of men who called themselves warriors, 
and were ever ready to serve a great leader for pay. The natural con- 
sequence of such a state of society was the frequent occurrence of vil- 
lage squabbles, border brawls, and the levying of black-mail upon de- 
fenseless people, culminating in the insurrection of a whole province. 
The disorder often rose to such a pitch that it was necessary for the 
court to interfere, and an expedition was sent from Kioto, under the 
command of a Taira or Minamoto leader. The shogun, instead of 
waiting to recruit his army in the regular manner a process doubt- 
ful of results in the disorganized state of the War Department and 
of the country in general had immediate recourse to others of 
these veteran " warriors," who were already equipped, and eager for a 

Frequent repetition of the experience of the relation of brothers in 
arms, of commander and commanded, of rewarder and rewarded, grad- 
ually grew into that of lord and retainers. Each general had his spe- 
cial favorites and followers, and the professional soldier looked upon 
his commander as the one to whom his allegiance was directly due. 
The distant court at Kioto, being utterly unable to enforce its author- 
ity, put the whole power of quieting the disturbed districts, whenever 
the disorder increased beyond the ability of the civil magistrate to re- 
press it, into the hands of the Minamoto and Taira. These families 
thus became military clans and acquired enormous influence, enjoyed 
the monopoly of military patronage, and finally became the virtual 
rulers of the land. 

The power of the sword was, as early as the twelfth century, lost to 
the court, which then attempted, by every means in its power, to check 
the rising influence of the military families and classes. They began 
by denying them high rank, thus putting them under social ban. 


They next attempted to lay an interdict upon the warriors by forbid- 
ding them to ally themselves with either the Taira or the Minamoto. 
This availed nothing, for the warriors knew who rewarded them. 
They then endeavored, with poor success, to use one family as a check 
upon the other. Finally, when the Minamoto, Yoriyoshi, and Yoshiiye 
conquered all the north of Hondo, and kept in tranquillity the whole 
of the Kuanto for fifteen years, even paying governmental expenses 
from their private funds, the court ignored their achievements. When 
they petitioned for rewards to be bestowed on their soldiers, the dila- 
tory and reluctant, perhaps jealous, nobles composing the court not 
only neglected to do so, but left them without the imperial commis- 
sion, and dishonored their achievements by speaking of them as " pri- 
vate feuds." Hence they took the responsibility, and conferred upon 
their soldiers grants of the conquered land in their own name. The 
Taira followed the same policy in the south and west. 

When Yoritomo became Sei-i Tai Shogun at Kamakura, erected the 
dual system, and appointed a military with a civil governor of each 
province in the interest of good order, feudalism assumed national pro- 
portions. Such a distribution soon ceased to be a balance, the milita- 
ry pan in the scale gained weight and the civil lost until it kicked the 
beam. At the end of the Hojo domination, the court had lost the 
government of the provinces, and the kuge (court nobles) had been 
despoiled and impoverished by the buke (military). So thoroughly 
had feudalism become the national polity, that in the temporary mika- 
doate, 1534-1536, the Emperor Go-Daigo rewarded those who had re- 
stored him by grants of land for them to rule in their own names as 
his vassals. 

Under the Ashikagas, the hold of even the central military author- 
ity, or chief daitnio, was lost, and the empire split up into fragments. 
Historians have in vain attempted to construct a series of historical 
maps of this period. The pastime was war a game of patchwork in 
which land continually changed possessors. There was no one great 
leader of sufficient power to overawe all ; hence might made right ; 
and whoever had the ability, valor, or daring to make himself pre-emi- 
nent above his fellows, and seized more land, his power would last 
until he was overcome by a stronger, or his family decayed through 
the effeminacy of his descendants. During this period, the great clans 
with whose names the readers of the works of the Jesuits and Dutch 
writers are familiar, or which have been most prominent since the 
opening of the empire, took their rise. They were those of Hosokawa 


Uy6sugi, Satako, Tak6da, the " later Hojo of Odawara," Mori, Otomo, 
Shimadzu, Kinzoji, Ota, and Tokugawa. 

As the authority of the court grew weaker and weaker, the alle- 
giance which all men owed to the mikado, and which they theoretic- 
ally acknowledged, was changed into loyalty to the military chief. 
Every man who bore arms was thus attached to some " great name " 
(daimio), and became a vassal (kerai). The agricultural, and gradual- 
ly the other classes, also put themselves, or were forcibly included, 
under the protection of some castle lord or nobleman having an armed 
following. The taxes, instead of being collected for the central gov- 
ernment, flowed into the treasury of the local rulers. This left the 
mikado and court without revenue. The kuge, or Kioto nobles, were 
thus stripped of wealth, until their poverty became the theme for the 
caricaturist. Nevertheless, the eye of their pride never dimmed. In 
their veins, they knew, ran the blood of the gods, while the daimi5s 
were only " earth - thieves," and the parvenus of feudalism. They 
still cherished their empty titles ; and to all students of history their 
poverty was more honorable than all the glitter of the shogun's train, 
or the splendor of the richest daimio's mansion. 

The daimios spent their revenues on their retainers, their personal 
pleasures, and in building castles. In almost every feudal city, or place 
of strategic importance, the towers, walls, and moats of these charac- 
teristic specimens of Japanese architecture could be seen. The strict- 
est vigilance was maintained at the castle-gates, and a retainer of an- 
other daimio, however hospitably entertained elsewhere, was never al- 
lowed entrance into the citadel. A minute code of honor, a rude 
sort of chivalry, and an exalted sense of loyalty were the growth of 
the feudal system. 

Many of the mediaeval military customs were very interesting. 
During this period the habit originated of the men shaving the hair 
off their temples and from the middle of the scalp, and binding the 
long cue into a top-knot, which was turned forward and laid on the 
scalp. The object of this was to keep the hair out of the eyes during 
battle, and also to mark the wearer as a warrior. Gradually it became 
a universal custom, extending to all classes. 

When, in 1873, the reformers persuaded the people to cut off their 
knots and let their hair grow, the latter refused to " imitate the for- 
eigners," and supposed they were true conservatives, when, in reality, 
the ancient Japanese knew nothing of shaven faces and scalps,-' or of 
top -knots. The ancient warriors wore mustaches, and even beards. 


The practice of keeping the face scrupulously bare, until recently so 
universally observed except by botanists and doctors, is comparatively 

The military tactics and strategic arts of the Japanese were ancient- 
ly copied from the Chinese, but were afterward modified as the nature 
of the physical features of their country and the institutions of feud- 
alism required. No less than seven distinct systems were at different 
times in vogue ; but that perfected by Takeda and Uyesugi, in the 
Ashikaga period, finally bore off the palm. These tactics continued 
to command the esteem and practice of the Japanese until the revolu- 
tion wrought by the adoption of the European systems in the present 
century. The surface of the country being so largely mountainous, 
uneven, and covered with rice-swamps, cavalry were but little employ- 
ed. A volley of arrows usually opened the battle, followed by a gen- 
eral engagement along the whole line. Single combats between com- 
manders of hostile armies were of frequent occurrence. When they 
met on the field, their retainers, according to the strict etiquette of 
war, gave no aid to either, but encouraged them by shouts, as they 
called out each other's names and rushed to the combat. The battle 
slackened while the leaders strove, the armies becoming spectators. 
The victor cut off the head of his antagonist, and, holding it up, 
shouted his name and claimed the victory. The triumph or defeat of 
their leaders often decided the fate of the army. Vengeance against 
the victor was not permitted to be taken at the time, but must be 
sought again, the two armies again joining battle. The fighting over, 
those who had slain distinguished personages must exhibit their heads 
before their chiefs, who bestowed rewards upon them. This practice 
still continues; and during the expedition in Formosa in 1874, the 
chief trophies were the heads of the Boutan cannibals; though the 
commander, General Saigo, attempted to abolish the custom. Who- 
ever saved his chieftain's life on the field was honored with the place 
of highest rank in the clan. These customs had a tremendous in- 
fluence in cultivating valor and a spirit of loyalty in the retainer to- 
ward the prince. The meanest soldier, if brave and faithful, might 
rise to the highest place of honor, rank, emolument, and influence. 
The bestowal of a reward, the investiture of a command, or military 
promotion, was ever an occasion of impressive ceremony. 

Even in time of peace the samurai never appeared out-of-doors 
unarmed, invariably wearing their two swords in their girdle. The 
offensive weapons spears long and short, the bows, arrows, and quiv- 


er, and battle-axes were set on their butts on the porch or vestibule 
in front of the house. Within doors, in the tokonoma, or recess, were 
ranged in glittering state the cuirass, helmet, greaves, gauntlets, and 
chain-mail. Over the sliding partitions, on racks, were the long hal- 
berds, which the women of the house were trained to use in case of 
attack during the absence of the men. 

The gate of a samurai, or noble's, house was permanently guarded by 
his armed retainers, who occupied the porter's lodge beside it. Stand- 
ing upright and ready were three long instruments, designed to en- 
tangle, throw down, and pin to the earth a quarrelsome applicant. 
Familiar faces passed unchallenged, but armed strangers were held at 
bay till their business was known. A grappling-iron, with barbed 
tongues turned in every direction, making a ball of hooks like an iron 
hedgehog, mounted on a pike-staff ten feet long, thrust into the Japa- 
nese loose clothing, sufficed to keep at a wholesome length any swash- 
buckler whose sword left its sheath too easily. Another spiked weapon, 
like a double rake, could be thrust between his legs and bring him to 
the earth. A third, shaped like a pitchfork, could hold him helpless 
under its wicket arch. Three heavy quarter staves were also ready, to 
belabor the straggling wight who would not yield, while swords on 
the racks hung ready for the last resort, or when intruders came in 
numbers. On rows of pegs hung wooden tickets about three inches 
square, branded or inscribed with the names of the retainers and serv- 
ants of the lord's house, which were handed to the keeper of the gate 
as they passed in or out. 

The soldiers wore armor made of thin scales of iron, steel, hardened 
hide, lacquered paper, brass, or shark -skin, chain -mail, and shields. 
The helmet was of iron, very strong, and lined within by buckskin. 
Its flap of articulated iron rings drooped well around the shoulders. 
The visor was of thin lacquered iron, the nose and mouth pieces being 
removable. The eyes were partially protected by the projecting front 
piece. A false mustache was supposed to make the upper lip of the 
warrior dreadful to behold. On the frontlet were .the distinguishing 
symbols of the man, a pair of horns, a fish, an eagle, dragon, buck- 
horns, or flashing brass plates of various designs. Some of the hel- 
mets were very tall. Kato Kiy omasa's was three feet high. On the 
top was a hole, in which a pennant was thrust, or an ornament shaped 
like a pear inserted. The " pear-splitter " was the fatal stroke in com- 
bat and the prize-cut in fencing. Behind the corslet on the back was 
another socket, in which the clan flag was inserted. The breastplate 



was heavy and tough ; the arms, legs, abdomen, and thighs were pro- 
tected by plates joined by woven chains. Shields were often used; 
and for forlorn-hopes or assaults, cavalrymen made use of a stuffed bag 
resembling a bolster, to receive a volley of arrows. Besides being 
missile-proof, it held the arrows as spoils. On the shoulders, hanging 
loosely, were unusually wide and heavy brassarts, designed to deaden 
the force of the two-handed sword-stroke. Greaves and sandals com- 
pleted the suit, which was laced and bound with iron clamps, and 
cords of buckskin and silk, and decorated with crests, gilt tassels, and 
glittering insignia. Suits of armor were of black, white, purple, crim- 
son, violet, green, golden, or silver colors. 

Kusnnoki Masatsura. (From a photograph takeii from a native drawing.) 

The rations of the soldiers were rice, fish, and vegetables. Instead 
of tents, huts of straw or boughs were easily erected to form a camp. 
The general's head - quarters were inclosed by canvas, stretched on 
posts six feet high, on which his armorial bearings were wrought. 
The weapons were bows and arrows, spear, sword, and, rarely, battle- 
axes and bow-guns ; for sieges, fire-arrows. The general's scabbard was 
of tiger-skin. Supplies of this material were obtained from Corea, 
where the animal abounds. His baton was a small lacquered wand, 
with a cluster of strips of thick white paper dependent from the point. 
Flags, banners, and streamers were freely used ; and a camp, castle, or 
moving army, in time of war, with its hundreds and thousands of flags, 
presented a gay and lively appearance. Drums, hard-wood clappers, 
and conch-shells sounded the reveille, the alarm, the onset, or the re- 

Owing to the nature of the ground, consisting chiefly of mountains 
and valleys, or plains covered with rice-swamps intersected by narrow 


paths, infantry were usually depended upon. In besieging a castle, 
the intrenchments of the investing army consisted chiefly of a line of 
palisades or heavy planks, propped up from within by hinged supports, 
at an angle of forty-five degrees, behind which the besiegers fought or 
lived in camp life, while sentinels paced at the gates. Lookouts were 
posted on overlooking hills, in trees, or in towers erected for the pur- 
pose. Sometimes huge kites able to sustain a man were flown, and a 
bird's-eye view of the interior of the enemy's castle thus obtained. 
Fire, treachery, stratagem, starvation, or shooting at long range having 
failed to compel surrender, an assault took place, in which the gates 
were smashed in, or the walls scaled. Usually great loss resulted be- 
fore the besiegers were driven off, or were victorious. Rough surgery 
awaited the wounded. An arrow-barb was usually pulled out by a 
jerk of the pincers. A sabre-cut was sewed or bound together with 
tough paper, of which every soldier carried a supply. The wonderful- 
ly adhesive, absorptive, and healing power of the soft, tough, quickly 
wet, easily hardening, or easily kept pliable, Japanese paper made ex- 
cellent plasters, bandages, tourniquets, cords, and towels. In the dress- 
ing of wounds, the native doctors to this day, as I have often had oc- 
casion to witness, excel. 

Seppuku (belly-cut) or hara-kiri also came into vogue about the 
time of the beginning of the domination of the military classes. At 
first, after a battle, the vanquished wounded fell on their swords, drove 
them through their mouth or breast, or cut their throats. Often a fa- 
mous soldier, before dying, would flay and score his own face beyond 
recognition, so that his enemies might not glory over him. This grew 
into a principle of honor ; and frequently the unscathed survivors, de- 
feated, and feeling the cause hopeless, or retainers whose master was 
slain, committed suicide. Hence arose, in the Ashikaga period, the 
fashion of wearing two swords ; one of which, the longer, was for en- 
emies ; the other, shorter, for the wearer's own body. The practice of 
hara-kiri as a judicial sentence and punishment did not come into 
vogue until in the time of the Tokugawas. 

Thrust into a tiny scabbard at the side of the dirk, or small sword, 
was a pair of chopsticks to eat with in camp. Anciently these were 
skewers, to thrust through the top-knot of a decapitated enemy, that the 
head might be easily carried. Besides, or in lieu of them, was a small 
miniature sword, ko-katana (little sword), or long, narrow knife. Al- 
though this was put to various trivial uses, such as those for which we 
employ a penknife, yet its primary purpose was that of the card of 


the owner. Each sword was adorned with some symbol or crest, 
which served to mark the clan, family, or person of the owner. 

The Satsuma men wore swords with red-lacquered scabbards. Later, 
the Tokugawa vassals, who fought in the battle of Sekigahara, were 
called " white hilts," because they wore swords of extraordinary length, 
with white hilts. The bat, the falcon, the dragon, lion, tiger, owl, and 
hawk, were among the most common designs wrought in gold, lacquer, 
carving, or alloy on the hilts, handles, or scabbard ; and on the ko-ka- 
tana was engraved the name of the owner. 

Feudalism was the mother of brawls innumerable, and feuds be- 
tween families and clans continually existed. The wife whose hus- 
band was slain by the grudge-bearer brought up her sons religiously 
to avenge their father's death. The vendetta was unhindered by law 
and applauded by society. The moment of revenge selected was 
usually that of the victim's proudest triumph. After promotion to 
office, succession to patrimony, or at his marriage ceremony, the sword 
of the avenger did its bloody work. Many a bride found herself a 
widow on her wedding-night. Many a child became an orphan in 
the hour of the father's acme of honor. When the murder was secret, 
at night, or on the wayside, the head was cut off, and the avenger, 
plucking out his ko-katana, thrust it in the ear of the victim, and let 
it lie on the public highway, or sent it to be deposited before the 
gate of the house. The ko-katana, with the name engraved on it, told 
the whole story. 

Whenever the lord of a clan wished his rival or enemy out of the 
way, he gave the order of Herodias to her daughter to his faithful re- 
tainers, and usually the head in due time was brought before him, as 
was John's, on a charger or ceremonial stand. 

The most minutely detailed etiquette presided over the sword, the 
badge of the gentleman. The visitor whose means allowed him to be 
accompanied by a servant always left his long sword in his charge 
when entering a friend's house ; the salutation being repeated bowing 
of the forehead to the floor while on the hands and knees, the breath 
being sucked in at the same time with an impressive sound. The de- 
gree of obeisance was accurately graded according to rank. If alone, 
the visitor laid his sword on the floor of the vestibule. The host's 
servants, if so instructed by their master, then, with a silk napkin in 
hand, removed it inside and placed it, with all honor, on the sword- 
rack. At meetings between those less familiar, the sheathed weapon 
was withdrawn from the girdle and laid on the floor to the right, an 


indication of friendship, since it could not be drawn easily. Under 
suspicious circumstances, it was laid to the left, so as to be at hand. 
On short visits, the dirk was retained in the girdle ; on festal occasions, 
or prolonged visits, it was withdrawn. To clash the sheath of one's 
sword against that of another was a breach of etiquette that often re- 
sulted in instantaneous and bloody reprisal. The accompanying cut by 
Ilokusai represents such a scene. The story is a true one, and well 

The Challenge. 

told by Mitford. Fuya Banzaemon he of the robe marked with the 
nuretsubami (swallow in a shower) and Nagoya Sanzaburo he of 
the coat figured with the device of lightning both enemies, and ronin, 
as their straw hats show, meet, and intentionally turn back to back 
and clash scabbards, holding their hands in tragic attitude. In a 
moment more, so the picture tells us, the insulted scabbards will be 
empty, and the blades crossed in deadly combat. In the story, which 
has been versified and dramatized, and which on the boards will hold 
an audience breathless, Nagoya finally kills Fuya. The writing at the 
side of the sketch gives the clue to the incident : saya-ate (scabbard- 
collision), equivalent to our "flinging down the gauntlet" 

To turn the sheath in the belt as if about to draw was tantamount 
to a challenge. To lay one's weapon on the floor of a room, and kick 
the guard toward a person, was an insult that generally resulted in a 
combat to the death. Even to touch another's weapon in any way 
was a grave offense. No weapon was ever exhibited naked for any 



purpose, unless the wearer first profusely begged pardon of those 
present. A wish to see a sword was seldom made, unless the blade 
was a rare one. The owner then held the back of the sword to the 
spectator, with the edge toward himself, and the hilt, wrapped in the 
little silk napkin which gentlemen always carry in their pocket-books, 
or a piece of white paper, to the left. The blade was then withdrawn 
from the scabbard, and admired inch by inch, but never entirely with- 
drawn unless the owner pressed his guest to do so, when, with much 
apology, the sword was entirely withdrawn and held away from those 
present. Many gentlemen took a pride in making collections of 
swords, and the men of every samurai family wore weapons that were 
heir-looms, often centuries old. Women wore short swords when 
traveling, and the palace ladies in time of fires armed themselves. 

In no country has the sword been made an object of such honor 
as in Japan. It is at once a divine symbol, a knightly weapon, and 
a certificate of noble birth. "The girded sword is the soul of the 
samurai." It is "the precious possession of lord and vassal from 
times older than the divine period." Japan is "the land of many 
blades." The gods wore and wielded two-edged swords. From the 
tail of the dragon was born the sword which the Sun-goddess gave to 
the first emperor of Japan. By the sword of the -clustering clouds of 
heaven Yamato dake subdued the East. By the sword the mortal 
heroes of Japan won their fame. 

" There's naught 'twixt heaven and earth that man need fear, who 
carries at his belt this single blade." " One's fate is in the hands of 
Heaven, but a skillful fighter does not meet with death." " In the 
last days, one's sword becomes the wealth of one's posterity." These 
are the mottoes graven on Japanese swords. 

Names of famous swords belonging to the Taira, Minamoto, and 
other families are, "Little Crow," " Beard - cutter," "Knee -divider." 
The two latter, when tried on sentenced criminals, after severing the 
heads from the body, cut the beard, and divided the knee respective- 
ly. The forging of these swords occupied the smith sixty days. No 
artisans were held in greater honor than the sword-makers, and some 
of them even rose to honorary rank. The forging of a blade was 
often a religious ceremony. The names of Mur6chika, Masamure, 
Yoshimitsu, and Muramasa, a few out of many noted smiths, are 
familiar words in the mouths of even Japanese children. The names, 
or marks and dates, of famous makers were always attached to their 
blades, and from the ninth to the fifteenth century were sure to be 


genuine. In later times, the practice of counterfeiting the marks of 
well-known makers came into vogue. Certain swords considered of 
good omen in one family were deemed unlucky in others. 

I had frequent opportunities of examining several of the master- 
pieces of renowned sword -makers while in Japan, the property of 
kug6s, daimios, and old samurai families, the museum at Kamakura 
being especially rich in famous old blades. The ordinary length of a 
sword was a fraction over two feet for the long and one foot for the 
short sword. All lengths were, however, made use of, and some of 
the old warriors on horseback wore swords over six feet long. 

The Japanese sword -blade averages about an inch in width, about 
seven-eighths of which is a backing of iron, to which a face of steel is 
forged along its entire length. The back, about one-fourth of an inch 
thick, bevels out very slightly to near the centre of the blade, which 
then narrows to a razor edge. The steel and the forging line are 
easily distinguished by a cloudiness on the mirror-like polish of the 
metal. An inch and a quarter from the point, the width of the blade 
having been decreased one -fourth, the edge is ground off to a semi- 
parabola, meeting the back, which is prolonged, untouched ; the curve 
of the whole blade, from a straight line, being less than a quarter of 
an inch. The guard is often a piece of elaborate workmanship in 
metal, representing a landscape, water -scene, or various emblems. 
The hilt is formed by covering the prolonged iron handle by shark- 
skin and wrapping this with twisted silk. The ferule, washers, and 
elects are usually inlaid, embossed, or chased in gold, silver, or alloy. 
The rivets in the centre of the handle are concealed by designs, often 
of solid gold, such as the lion, dragon, cock, etc. 

In full dress, the color of the scabbard was black, with a tinge of 
green or red in it, and the bindings of the hilt of blue silk. The 
taste of the wearer was often displayed in the color, size, or method 
of wearing his sword, gay or proud fellows affecting startling colors 
or extravagant length. Riven through ornamental ferules at the side 
of the scabbards were long, flat cords of woven silk of various tints, 
which were used to tie up the flowing sleeves, preparatory to fighting. 
Every part of a sword was richly inlaid, or expensively finished. 
Daimios often spent extravagant sums on a single blade, and small 
fortunes on a collection. A samurai, however poor, would have a 
blade of sure temper and rich mountings, deeming it honorable to suf- 
fer for food, that he might have a worthy emblem of his social rank 
as a samurai. A description of the various styles of blade and scab- 



bard, lacquer, ornaments, and the rich vocabulary of terms minutely 
detailing each piece entering into the construction of a Japanese 
sword, the etiquette to be observed, the names, mottoes, and legends 
relating to them, would fill a large volume closely printed. A consid- 
erable portion of native literature is devoted to this one subject. 

Archer on Castle Rampart. (From a native drawing.) 

The bow and arrows were the chief weapons for siege ana long- 
range operations. A Japanese bow has a peculiar shape, as seen in 
the engraving. It was made of well-selected oak (kashi), incased on 
both sides with a semi-cylinder of split bamboo toughened by fire.' 
The three pieces composing the bow were then bound firmly into one 
piece by thin withes of rattan, making an excellent combination of 
lightness, strength, and elasticity. The string was of hemp. Arrows 
were of various kinds and lengths, according to the arms of the arch- 



er. The average length of the war-arrow was three feet. The " tur- 
nip-head," " frog - crotch," " willow - leaf," " armor - piercer," "bowel- 
raker," were a few of the various names for arrows. The "turnip- 
top," so named from its shape, made a singing noise as it flew. The 
" frog-crotch," shaped like a pitchfork, or the hind legs of a leaping- 
frog, with edged blades, was used to cut down flags or sever helmet 
lacings. The " willow-leaf " was a two-edged, unbarbed head, shaped 
like the leaf of a willow. The " bowel - raker " was of a frightful 
shape, well worthy of the name ; and the victim whose diaphragm it 
penetrated was . not likely to stir about afterward. The " armor- 
piercer" was a plain bolt-head, with 
nearly blunt point, well calculated to 
punch through a breastplate. Barbs 
of steel were of various shape ; some- 
times very heavy, and often handsome- 
ly .open- worked. The . shaft was of 
cane bamboo, with string-piece of bone 
or horn, whipped on with silk. Quiv- 
ers were of leather, water-proof paper, 
or thin lacquered wood, and often 
splendidly adorned. Gold-inlaid weap- 
ons were common among the rich sol- 
diers, and the outfit of an officer often 
cost many hundreds of dollars. Not 
a few of these old tools of war have 
lost their significance, and have be- 
come household adornments, objects 
of art, or symbols of peace. Such 
especially are the emblems of the car- 
penter's guilds, which consist of the 
half - feathered " turnip - head " arrow, 
wreathed with leaves of the same suc- 
culent, and the " frog-crotch," inserted 
in the mouth of a dragon, crossed 
upon the ancient mallet of the craft. 
These adorn temples or houses, or are 
carried in the local parades and festi- 

As Buddhism had become the pro- Sy <a mbols of ^ &t ? ier ' t 

Singing or " Turnip-top," and Cutting 
fessed religion of the entire nation, or Knife-prong, Arrows, and Mallet. 


the vast majority of the military men were Buddhists. Each had 
his patron or deity. The soldier went into battle with an image of 
Buddha sewed in his helmet, and after victory ascribed glory to his 
divine deliverer. Many temples in Japan are the standing monuments 
of triumph in battle, or vows performed. Many of the noted captains, 
notably Kato, inscribed their banners with texts from the classics or 
the prayers, " Namu Ainida Butsu," or " Namu mio ho," etc., ac- 
cording to their sect. Amulets and charms were worn almost without 
exception, and many a tale is told of arrows turned aside, or swords 
broken, that struck on a sacred image, picture, or text. Before enter- 
ing a battle, or performing a special feat of skill or valor, the hero 
uttered the warrior's prayer, " Namu Hachiman Dai-bosatsu " (Glory to 
Hachiman, the incarnation of Great Buddha). Though brave heroes 
must, like ordinary men, pass through purgatory, yet death on the 
battle-field was reckoned highly meritorious, and the happiness of the 
warrior's soul in the next world was secured by the prayers of his 
wife and children. 




IN the province of Echizen, a few miles from Fukui, on the sea- 
coast, stands the mountain of Ochi, adorned with many a shrine and 
sacred portal, and at its foot lies the village of Ota. Tradition states 
that nearly a thousand years ago the pious bonze, Tai Cho, ascended 
and explored this mountain, which is now held sacred and resorted to 
by many a pilgrim. Here, in uninterrupted harmony, dwelt for cent- 
uries priests of both the native Shinto and Buddhist cultus, until 
1868, when, in the purification, all Shinto shrines were purged of Bud- 
dhist symbolism and influences, as of a thing unclean. The priests 
were wont to make occasional journeys to Kioto, the ecclesiastical cen- 
tre of the country. Centuries before the troublous times of Ashikaga, 
and during the period of the Taira and Minamoto, one of the Shinto 
priests, while on his way through Omi, stopped at Tsuda, and lodged 
with the nanushi, or head-man of the village, and asked him for one 
of his sons for the priesthood. The host gave him his step-son, whom 
the priest named Ota Chikazan6. 

That boy was of Taira blood, the great-grandson of Kiyomori. His 
father, Sukemori, had been killed by the Minamoto, but his mother 
had fled to Omi, and the head-man of the village of Tsuda had mar- 
ried her. 

The mother, though grieving for the loss of her son, doubtless, as a 
pious woman, rejoiced to see him in such excellent hands. The lad 
was returned to Ota, and lived in the village. He grew up, married 
as became a kannushi (custodian of a Shinto shrine), and founded a 
family of Shinto priests. He was the common ancestor of the famous 
hero of Echizen, Shibata Katsuiye, and of the renowned Nobunaga, 
who deposed the Ashikaga, persecuted the Buddhists, encouraged the 
Jesuits, and restored, to a great extent, the supremacy of the mikado. 
In the " History of the Church," a portrait is given of Nobunaga, 
which is thus translated by Dr. Walter Dixoh. He is described as " a 
prince of large stature, but of a weak and delicate complexion, with a 


heart and soul that supplied all other wants ; ambitious above all man- 
kind ; brave, generous, and bold, and not without many excellent mor- 
al virtues ; inclined to justice, and an enemy to treason. With a quick 
and penetrating wit, he seemed cut out for business. Excelling in mili- 
tary discipline r he was esteemed the fittest to command an army, man- 
age a siege, fortify a town, or mark out a camp, of any general in Ja- 
pan, never using any heads but his own. If he asked advice, it was 
more to know their hearts than to profit by their advice. He sought 
to see into others, and to conceal his own counsel, being very secret in 
his designs. He laughed at the worship of the gods, convinced that 
the bonzes were impostors abusing the simplicity of the people, and 
screening their own debauches under the name of religion." 

Nobunaga had four generals, whom the people in those days were 
wont to nickname, respectively, "Cotton," "Rice," "Attack," "Re- 
treat." The one was so fertile. of resources that he was like cotton, 
that can be put to a multitude of uses; the second .was as absolutely 
necessary as rice, which,, if the people be without for a day, they die ; 
the third excelled in onset ; the fourth, in skillful retreat. They were 
Hideyoshi, Goroza, Shibata, and Ikeda. A fifth afterward joined him, 
whose name was Tokugawa lyeyasu. These three .names, Nobunaga, 
Hideyoshi, and lyeyasu, are the most renowned in Japan. 

Nobunaga first appears on the scene in 1542, His father, after the 
fashion of the times, was a warrior, who, in the general scramble for 
land, was bent on securing a fair slice of territory. He died in 1549, 
leaving to his son his arms, his land, and his feuds. Nobunaga gained 
Suruga, Mino, Omi and Mikawa, Ise and Echizen, in succession. Hav- 
ing possession of Kioto, he built the fine castle of Nijo, and took the 
side of Ashikaga Yoshiaki, who by his influence was made shogun in 
1558. Six years later, the two quarreled. Nobunaga arrested and 
deposed him, and the power of this family, which had lasted two hun- 
dred and thirty-eight years, eame to an end. From this time there 
was no Sei-i Tai Shogun, until lyeyasu obtained the office, in 1604. 
By the aid of his commanders, Hideyoshi and lyeyasu, he brought 
large, portions of the empire under his authority, and nominally that 
of the mikado, in whose name he governed. He became Naidaijin 
(inner great minister), but never shogun. The reason of this, doubt- 
less, was that the office of shogun was by custom monopolized by the 
Minamoto family and descendants, whereas Nobunaga was of Taira de- 
scent. Like Yoritpmo, he was a skillful and determined soldier, but 
was never able to subdue the great clans. Unlike him, he lacked ad- 


ministrative power, and was never able to follow up in peace the vic- 
tories gained in war. 

He met his death in Kioto, when in the fullness of his power and 
fame, in the following manner. Among his captains was Akechi, a 
brave, proud man, who had taken mortal offense at his leader. One 
day, while in his palace, being in an unusually merry and familiar 
mood, Nobunaga put Akechi's head under his arm, saying he would 
make a drum of it, struck it with his fan, like a drumstick, playing a 
tune. Ak6chi did not relish the joke, and silently waited for revenge. 
His passion was doubtless nursed and kept warm by a previous desire 
to seize the place and power and riches of his chief. 

In those days treachery was a common and trivial occurrence, and 
the adherent of to-day was the deserter of to-morrow. The opportu- 
nity did not delay. Nobunaga had sent so large a re-enforcement into 
the west, to Hideyoshi, who was fighting with Mori, that the garrison 
at the capital was reduced to a minimum. Akechi was also ordered 
to Kiushiu, and pretended to march thither. Outside the city he dis- 
closed his plan of killing Nobunaga, whom he denounced to his offi- 
cers, and promised them rich booty. They returned to Kioto, and sur- 
rounded the temple of Honnoji, where their victim was then residing. 
Hearing of the unexpected presence of so many soldiers in armor 
around his dwelling, he drew aside the window of his room to ascer- 
tain the cause. He was struck by an arrow, and instantly divined the 
situation, and that escape was impossible. He then set the temple on 
fire, and committed suicide. In a few minutes the body of the great 
hero was a charred crisp. 

An uninscribed tomb of polygonal masonry, built in his honor, 
stands in the ten-shiu, or keep, of his most famous castle, Azuchi yama, 
on a high hill looking out upon the white walls of the fortress of Hi- 
kone, the blue lake of Biwa, and the towering grandeur of Ibuki yama. 
He died at the age of forty-nine. 

The position of Ota Nobunaga in Japanese history would be illy 
understood were the reader to regard him merely as a leader in clan 
fights, who by genius and vigor rose above the crowd of petty milita- 
ry adventurers, or even as one who wished to tranquilize and unify all 
Japan for the mikado. We must inquire why it is that no man has 
won more execration and anathemas from the Buddhists in Japan 
than he. They look upon him as an incarnate demon sent to destroy 
their faith. 

The period of the Ashikaga was that in which the Buddhist priests 


reached the acme of power. Their monasteries were often enormous 
stone-walled and moated fortresses. The bonzes kept armor and ar- 
senals full of weapons to don and use themselves, or to equip the 
armies in their pay when it suited their pleasure to cope with or as- 
sist either of the changing sides, or to take spoil of both. Many 
bloody battles took place between rival sects, in which temples were 
burned down, villages fired, and hundreds on both sides killed. Part 
of what is now the immense castle of Ozaka belonged to the Ikko or 
Shin sect. 

At Hiyeizan, on Lake Biwa, was the most extensive monastery in 
Japan. The grounds, adorned and beautified with the rarest art of 
the native landscape gardener, inclosed thirteen valleys and over five 
hundred temples, shrines, and priestly dwellings. Here thousands of 
monks were congregated. They chanted before gorgeous altars, cele- 
brated their splendid ritual, reveled in luxury and licentiousness, drank 
their sake, eat the forbidden, viands, and dallied with their concubines, 
or hatched plots to light or fan the flames of feudal war, so as to make 
the quarrels of the clans and chiefs redound to their aggrandizement. 
They trusted profoundly to their professedly sacred character to shield 
them from all danger. 

For these bonzes Nobunaga had no respect. His early life among 
the priests had doubtless destroyed whatever reverence he might have 
had for their sanctity. His education as a Shintoist made him hate 
the Buddhists as enemies. The bonzes continually foiled his schemes, 
and he saw that, even if war between the .clans ceased, the existence 
of these monasteries would jeopard the national peace. He resolved 
to destroy them. 

In the Ninth month, 1571, says the Nihon Guai Shi, he encamped 
at Seta, and ordered his generals to set Hiyeizan on fire. The gener- 
als, surprised at the order, lost countenance, and exhorted him not to 
do it, saying, " Since Kuammu Tenno [782-806] built this monastery, 
nearly a thousand years ago, it has been esteemed the most vigilant 
against the devil. No one has yet dared to injure these temples ; but 
now, do you intend to do so 3 How can it be possible?" To this 
Nobunaga answered : " I have put down the thieves against the em- 
peror [kokuzoku, robbers of country] ; why do you hinder me thus ? 
I intend to tranquilize the whole land, and revive the declining power 
of the imperial Government. I continually make light of my life for 
the mikado's sake, and hence I have no rest for a single day. Last 
year I subdued Settsu, and both castles were about to be surrendered, 


when Yoshikag6 [Daimio of Echizen] and Nagamasa [DaimiS of Omi] 
attacked my rear, and I was obliged to raise the siege and retrace my 
steps. My allowing the priests to remain on this mountain was in or- 
der that I might destroy them. I once dispatched a messenger to the 
priests, and set before them happiness and misery. The bonzes nev- 
er obeyed my word, but stoutly assisted the wicked fellows, and so 
resisted the imperial army [oshi, or kuangun\. Does this act not 
make them \kokuzoku\ country-thieves? If I do not now take them 
away, this great trouble will continue forever. Moreover, I have heard 
that the priests violate their own rules; they eat fish and stinking 
vegetables [the five odorous plants prohibited by Buddhism common 
and wild leek, garlic, onions, scallions], keep concubines, and roll up 
the sacred books [never untie them to read them or pray]. -How can 
they be vigilant against evil, or preserve justice ? Then surround their 
dwellings, burn them down, suffer no one to live." 

The generals, incited by the speech of their commander, agreed. 
On the next day an awful scene of butchery and conflagration ensued. 
The soldiers set fire to the great shrines and temples ; and while the 
stately edifices were in flames, plied sword, lance, and arrow. None 
were permitted to escape. Without discrimination of age or sex, the 
toothless dotard, abbot, and bonze, maid -servant and concubine and 
children, were speared or cut down without mercy. This was the first 
great blow at Buddhism. 

In 1579, the two great sects of Nichiren and Jodo held a great dis- 
cussion upon religious subjects, which reached such a point of acri- 
mony that the attention of the Government was called to it, and it 
was continued and finished before Nobunaga, at his castle at Azuchi 
yama, on the lands of which he had already allowed the Jesuits to 
build churches. A book called Azuchi fton, still extant, contains the 
substance of the argument on both sides. One result of the wordy 
contest was the suppression of a sub -sect of Jodo, whose doctrines 
were thought to be dangerous to the State. 

The immense fortified temple and monastery called Honguanji, in 
Ozaka, was the property of the Monto, or Shin sect of Buddhists, and 
the retreat and hiding-place of Nobunaga's enemies. The bonzes 
themselves were his most bitter haters, because he had so encouraged 
the Jesuits. They had taken the side of his enemies for over twelve 
years. At last, when some of his best captains had been killed by 
' grass-rebels," or ambuscaders, who fled into the monastery, he laid 
siege to it in earnest, with the intention of serving the inmates as he 



did those of Hiyeizan. Within the enceinte, crowded in five connect- 
ing fortresses, were thousands of women and children, besides the 
warriors and priests. Another frightful massacre seemed imminent. 
The place was so surrounded that every attempt of the garrison to 
escape was cut off. On an intensely dark night, under cover of a 
storm then raging, several thousands of the people, of all sexes and ages, 
attempted to escape from one of the forts. They were overtaken and 
slaughtered. The main garrison shortly afterward learned the fate of 
their late comrades by seeing a junk, dispatched by the victors, laden 
with human ears and noses, approach the castle with its hideous cargo. 

View of the Castle of Ozaka (takeii ill 1861), from the Kice-flelds. 

Another outpost of the castle was surrendered. In the second month 
of the siege, a sortie in force was repelled by showers of arrows and 
matchlock balls ; but, in the fighting, Nobunaga's best officers were 
slain. The besieging army finally occupied three of the five in the 
net-work of fortresses. Thousands (" twenty thousand ") of the gar- 
rison had been killed by arrow and ball, or had perished in the flames, 
and the horrible stench of burning flesh filled the air for miles. The 
fate of the main body within the walls was soon to be decided. 

The mikado, grieving over the shedding of so much blood, sent 
three court nobles and a priest of another sect to persuade the gam- 


son to yield. A conference of the abbot and elders was called, and a 
surrender decided upon. The castle was turned over to Nobunaga, 
and from that day until the present has remained in the hands of the 
Government. Pardon was granted to the survivors, and the bonzes 
scattered to the other large monasteries of their sect. To this day, 
the great sects in Japan have never fully recovered from the blows 
dealt by Nobunaga. Subsequently, rulers were obliged to lay violent 
hands upon the strongholds of ecclesiastical power that threatened so 
frequently to disturb the peace of the country ; but they were able to 
do it with comparative ease, because Nobunaga had begun the work 
with such unscrupulous vigor and thoroughness. 

Nobunaga's Victims : Types of Buddhist Priesthood and Monastic Ordere. 





THERE are hundreds of mura, or villages, in Japan, called Nakamu- 
ra (naka, middle ; mura, village), for the same reason that there are 
many Middletowns in English-speaking countries, but none of them 
claim to be the birthplace of Hideyoshi except that in the district of 
Aichi, in Owari. There, in 1536, lived a peasant called Yasuke, whose 
wife bore a wizen-faced, pithecoid baby, who grew up to be a cunning 
and reckless boy. Instead of going out to the hill-sides, grass-hook 
in hand and basket on back, to cut green fodder for horses, or stand- 
ing knee-deep in the mud- 
pulp of the rice-fields weed- 
ing the young plants, re- 
turning at night, with hoe 
on shoulder, he lived on 
the streets, and sharpened 
his wits, afraid of no one. 
While a mere boy, he be- 
came a betto, or groom, to 
Nobunaga, who noticed the 
boy's monkey face and rest- 
less eyes, and encouraged 
him to become a soldier, 
which he did. 

The number and variety 
of names possessed by him 
in his life -time illustrate 
well the confusing custom 
in vogue among the Japa- 
B| nese of frequently changing 
their names. The reader 

A Familiar Country Scene: Boys going up n Mount- n f *}, na t; v p litwitiirp rr 
ain to cut Grass ; Peasant Woman, with Hoe on her C 

Shoulder. of foreign works of Japan 


is perplexed, among the multitude of names and titles, to distinguish 
the personage to whom they belong. When there are many actors in 
the scene, and each is known by a half-dozen aliases, confusion becomes 
confounded, and the patience is sorely taxed. 

In this work I designate one person by one name, although appar- 
ent anachronisms must thereby be committed, and the eyes of the 
scholar be often annoyed. It has, until recently, in Japan been the 
custom for every samurai to be named differently in babyhood, boy- 
hood, manhood, or promotion, change of life or residence, in com- 
memoration of certain events, or on account of a vow, or from mere 
whim. Thus, at his birth, Hideyoshi's mother having, as it is said, 
dreamed that she had conceived by the sun, called him Hiyoshi maro 
(good sun). Others dubbed him Ko chiku (small boy), and afterward 
Saru matsu (monkey-pine). As a soldier, he enlisted as Kinoshita To- 
kichiro, the first being his father's name. As he grew famous, he was 
nicknamed Momen Tokichi (" Cotton " Tokichi). When a general, 
from a mere whim, he made himself a name by uniting two syllables, 
ha and shiba, making Hashiba, from the names of two of his generals, 
Ni-wa or ha, and Shibata, which the Jesuits wrote, as the Portuguese 
orthography required, Faxiba. 

When, in 1586, he attained the rank of Kuambaku (Cambaku dono 
of the Jesuits), or premier, his enemies, who were jealous of the par- 
venu, spoke of him as Saru Kuan ja, or crowned monkey. How he 
obtained this high office, even with all the limitless store of cunning 
impudence and egotism, is not known, for no one except nobles of 
Fujiwara blood had ever filled that office, it being reserved exclusively 
for members of that family. He obtained from the emperor the pat- 
ent of a family name, and he and his successors are known in history 
as the Toyotomi family, he being Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1591 he 
resigned his high office, and was succeeded by his son. Hence he 
took the title of tailed, and the people referred to him as Taiko sama, 
just as they put the term sama (Mr., or Sir, Honorable, etc.) after the 
titles of emperor, shogun, other, titled officials, or after the name of 
any person. Japanese address foreigners as " Smith sama," or " Smith 
san," or an infant as " baby san," instead of " Mr. Smith," "the baby," 
etc. The term sama fulfills, in a measure, the function of the definite 
article or demonstrative pronoun, or serves as a social handle. Hence, 
in foreign works, Hideyoshi, the taiko ; or that one of the many taiko, 
called Hideyoshi, is referred to as Taiko sama. 

Hideyoshi was a man of war from his youth up. His abilities and 


soldierly qualities made him a favorite commander. His banner con- 
sisted of a cluster of gourds. At first it was a single gourd. After 
each battle another was added, until at last it became an imposing 
sheaf. The standard-bearer carried aloft at the head of the columns a 
golden representation of the original model, and wherever Hideyoshi's 
banner moved there was the centre of victory. 

At the death of Nobunaga, the situation was as follows : His third 
son, Nobutaka, was ruler over Shikoku ; Shimadzu (Satsuma) was 
fighting with Otomo, and seizing his land in Kiushiu. Hideyoshi and 
Nobuwo, second son of Nobunaga, with the imperial army, was fight- 
ing with Mori, Prince of Choshiu, who held ten provinces in the West, 
lye'yasu, ruler of eight provinces in the Kuanto, was in the field against 
Hojo of Odawara. Shibata held Echizen. Hideyoshi and lyeyasu 
were the rising men, but the former attained first to highest power. 
Immediately on hearing of Nobunaga's death, Hideyoshi made terms 
with Mori, hastened to Kioto, and defeated and slew Akechi. The 
fate of this assassin has given rise to the native proverb, " Akechi ruled 
three days." His name and power were now paramount. The prizes 
of rank were before him, for the mikado and court could not oppose 
his wishes. Of his master's sons, one had died, leaving an infant ; the 
second son was assisted by lyeyasu, with whom Hideyoshi had made 
a compromise ; the third, Nobutaka, was weak, and endeavored, sec- 
onded by his chief captain, Shibata, who had married the sister of No- 
bunaga, to maintain his rights. Hideyoshi marched into Mino, de- 
feated him, pursued Shibata into Echizen, and, after several skirmishes, 
burned his castle. The account of this, as given by the Jesuits, is as 
follows : "Among the confederates of Nobutaka was one Shibata dono, 
brother-in-law to Nobunaga. He was besieged in the fortress of Shi- 
bata [in what is now Fukui] ; and seeing no way of escape, he, having 
dined with his friend's wife and children and retainers, set fire to his 
castle, first killing his wife, his children, and the female servants ; and 
his friends, following his example, afterward committed suicide, and 
lay there wallowing in their blood, till the fire kindled, and burned 
them to ashes." 

My residence in Fukui, during the year 1871, was immediately on 
the site of part of Shibata's old castle. His tomb stands under some 
venerable old pine-trees some distance from the city. When I visited 
it, the old priest who keeps the temple, since erected, brought out sev- 
eral old boxes carefully labeled, and reverently opened them. One 
contained the rusty breastplate and other portions of Shibata's armor, 


picked up after the fire. Other 
relics saved from the ashes were 
shown me. The story, as it fell 
from the old bonze's lips, and 
was translated by my interpret- 
er, is substantially that given by 
the native historians. 

Having fled, after many de- 
feats, he reached the place now Cam P of Hideyoshi on Atago Mountain, be- 
, _ . __. fore FnkuL 

called b ukui. Hidey oshi, in hot 

pursuit, fixed his camp on Atagoyama, a mountain which overlooks 
the city, and began the siege, which he daily pressed closer and 
closer. Being hopelessly surrounded, and succor hopeless, Shibata, 
like a true Epicurean, gave a grand feast to all his captains and re- 
tainers, in anticipation of the morrow of death. All within the 
doomed walls eat, drank, sung, danced and made merry, for the mor- 



row was not to see them in this world. At the height of the ban- 
quet, Shibata, quaffing the parting cup before death, addressed his 
wife thus : " You may go out of the castle and save your life. 
You are a woman ; but we are men, and will die. You are at liberty 
to marry another." His wife, the sister of Nobunaga, with a spirit 
equal to his, was moved to tears, thanked her lord for his love and 
kindness, and declared she would never marry another, but would die 
with her husband. She then composed a farewell stanza of poetry, 
and, with a soul no less brave because it was a woman's, received her 
husband's dirk into her heart. 

Like true Stoics, Shibata and his companions put all the women 
and children to the death they welcomed, and for which they gave 
thanks ; and then, with due decorum and ceremony, opening their own 
bodies by hara-kiri, they died as brave Japanese ever love to die, by 
their own hands, and not by those of an enemy. 

Hideyoshi, on his return to Kioto, began a career of usefulness, devel- 
oping the resources of the empire and strengthening the power of the 
emperor. Knowing it was necessary to keep his captains and soldiers 
busy in time of inaction, and having a genius for the works of peace as 
well as war, he built splendid palaces at Kioto, improved the city, and 
paved the bed of the river Kamo with broad, flat stones. He laid the 
foundations of the future commercial greatness of Ozaka by enlarging 
the site of the monastery destroyed by Nobunaga, building the immense 
fortress, only part of which still remains, the pride of the city, enlarged 
and deepened the river, and dug many of the hundreds of canals which 
give this city whatever right it may have to be called the Venice of 
Japan. It had, when I saw it in 1871, over eleven hundred bridges, 
one of them of iron. He fortified Fushimi, the strategic key of Kioto, 
with a triple-moated castle, erected colossal towers and pagodas in many 
places. He sequestrated the flourishing commercial port of Nagasaki 
from the Daimio of Omura, and made it the property of the crown. 
Neither Deshima nor Pappenberg was then historic ; but the lovely 
scenery was as much the subject of admiration as it is now. His policy 
was to forgive those who had fought against 4 him, and not to put them 
to death, as Nobunaga had done, who, in the course of his life, had 
killed his brother, father-in-law, and many of his enemies. He reform- 
ed the revenues. His rule was highly popular, for, in his execution of 
justice, he cared little for rank, name, or family line, or services done 
to himself. He was successful in inducing lyeyasu, after the latter 
had secured the taiko's mother as hostage, to come to Kioto and pay 


homage to the emperor ; and the two rivals becoming friends, lyeyasQ 
married the taiko's sister. Mori, lord of the Western provinces, 'also 
came to the capital, and acknowledged him as his superior. 

Among his other works, Hiddyoshi followed out the policy of No- 
bunaga, destroyed the great monastery at Kumano, the bonzes of which 
claimed the province of Kii. He was never made shogun, not being 
of Minamoto blood ; but having become Kuambaku, and being sur- 
rounded by nobles of high birth and the lofty etiquette of the court, 
he felt the need of a pedigree. No one at court knew who his grand- 
father was, if, indeed, he was aware himself. lie made out that his 
mother was the daughter of a kug6, who, in the disturbed times of 
Ashikaga, had fled from Kioto, and, while in poverty and great distress, 
had married his father, but had conceived him before her marriage. 

In his youth he had wedded a peasant girl ; but as he rose step by 
step to eminence, he kept on marrying until he had a number equal 
to that of the polygamous English king, Henry VIII. ; but, unlike that 
monarch, he enjoyed them all at once, and caused none of them to 
lose her head. The last two of his spouses were, respectively, a daugh- 
ter of the house of Mae'da, of the rich province of Kaga, and the 
Princess Azai, of Bizen, daughter of the wife of Shibata Katsuiye, 
whom the Jesuits, under the name 
of Kita Mandocoro, say was the 
first wife of the taikd, " sweetest 
and best beloved." He had no son 
until in old age. 

The immoderate ambition of 
Hideyoshi's life was to conquer 
Corea, and even China. It had 
been his dream when a boy, and 
his plan when a man. When un- 
der Nobunaga, he had begged of 
him the revenue of Kiushiu for 
one year and weapons, while he 
himself would provide the ships 
and provisions, offering to subdue 
Corea, and with an army of Co- 
reans to conquer China, and thus image of Japanese Deified Hero, seen in 
make the three countries one. His Shinto Shrines, 

master laughed, but he kept thinking of it. When in the Kuanto, 
he visited Kamakura, and saw an image of Yoritomo, such as one 


may still see in the temple of Tsurugaoka. Rubbing and patting 
its back, the parvenu thus addressed the illustrious effigy: "You 
are my friend. You took all the power under Heaven (in Japan). 
You and I, only, have been able to do this ; but you were of a famous 
family, and not like me, sprung from peasants. I intend, at last, to 
conquer all the earth, and even China. What think you of that?" 
Hideyoshi used to say, " The earth is the earth's earth " a doctrine 
which led him to respect very slightly the claim of any one to land 
which he coveted, and had won by his own efforts. 

Under the declining power of Ashikaga, all tribute from Corea had 
ceased, and the pirates who ranged the coasts scarcely allowed a pre- 
carious trade to exist. The So family, who held Tsushima, however, 
had a small settlement in Corea, Some Chinese, emigrating to Japan, 
told Hideyoshi of the military disorganization and anarchy in China, 
which increased his desire to " peep into China." He then sent two 
embassies in succession to Corea to demand tribute. The second was 
successful. He also sent word to the Emperor of China by some Liu 
Kiu tribute-bearers that if he (the Emperor of China) would not hear 
him, he would invade his territory with an army. To the Corean en- 
voy he recounted his exploits, and announced his intentions definitely. 

Several embassies crossed and recrossed the sea between Corea and 
Japan, Hideyoshi meanwhile awaiting his best opportunity, as the 
dispatch of the expedition depended almost entirely on his own will. 
His wife, Azai, had borne him a child, whom he loved dearly, but it 
died, and he mourned for it many months. One day he went out to 
a temple, Kiyomidzu, in Kioto, to beguile the sad hours. Lost in 
thought, in looking over the western sky beyond the mountains, he 
suddenly exclaimed to his attendant, " A great man ought to employ 
his army beyond ten thousand miles, and not give way to sorrow." 
Returning to his house, he assembled his generals, and fired their en- 
thusiasm by recounting their exploits mutually achieved. He then 
promised to march to Peking, and divide the soil of China in fiefs 
among them. They unanimously agreed, and departed to the various 
provinces to prepare troops and material. Hideyoshi himself went to 

On his way, some one suggested that scholars versed in Chinese 
should accompany the expedition. Hideyoshi laughed, and said, " This 
expedition will make the Chinese use our literature." After worship- 
ing at a shrine, he threw up a handful of one hundred " cash " in front 
of the shrine, and said, " If I am to conquer China, let the heads show 


it" The Japanese copper and iron zeni, or kat, have Chinese charac- 
ters representing the chronological period of coinage on one side, and 
waves representing their circulation as money on the reverse. The 
lettered side is " head," the reverse is " tail." All the coins which the 
taiko flung up came down heads. The soldiers were delighted with 
the omen. Maps of Corea were distributed among the commanders 
of the eight divisions, and the plan of the expedition and their co-op- 
eration explained. 

Kato Kiyomasa, who hated the Christians, and who afterward be- 
came their bitterest persecutor, was commander of the first ; and Koni- 
shi Yukinaga, the Christian leader, and a great favorite of the Jesuits, 
of the second. These divisions were alternately to lead the van. The 
naval and military force that embarked is set down in the Guai Ski 
at five hundred thousand men. A reserve of sixty thousand was kept 
ready in Japan as re-enforcements. Many of the generals, captains, 
and private soldiers were of the Christian faith. Kato despised Ko- 
nishi, and they were not friends. The latter was the son of a druggist, 
and persisted, to the disgust of the high-born Kato, in carrying a ban- 
ner representing a paper medicine-bag, such as can be seen swinging 
in front of a native drug-shop to-day. He probably took his cue from 
the august parvenu, the taiko. 

Hideyoshi expected to lead the army himself ; but being sixty years 
old, and infirm, and his aged mother sorrowing so that she could not 
eat on account of it, he remained behind. He gave Kato a flag, say- 
ing, " This was given me by Ota [Nobunaga] when I marched against 
Mori [Choshiu]." To Konishi he presented a fine horse, saying, " With 
this I galloped over the bearded savages [Ainos]." All being ready, 
the fleet set sail amidst the shouts of the army and the thunder of 
cannon on the shore. Hideyoshi had attempted to buy or charter two 
Portuguese ships, but was unsuccessful, and the fleet consisted of large 
junks. They were detained off Ike Island by stormy weather. As 
soon as it was calm, Konishi, well acquainted with the route, sailed 
away with his division, arrived at Fusan, in Southern Corea, first, and 
seized the castle. Without allowing his troops to rest, he urged them 
on to other triumphs, that the glory might be theirs alone, and not be 
shared by the other troops, who would soon arrive. Another large 
castle was stormed, several towns captured, and brilliant victories won. 
Three days later, Kato arrived, and heard, to his chagrin, of his rival's 
advance into the interior. He exclaimed, "The boy has taken my 
route ; I shall not follow in his tracks." He then burned the town, 


which Konishi had spared, and advanced into the country by another 

Corea was divided into eight circuits, and the taiko's plan had been 
for each corps of the army to conquer a circuit. The Corean king ap- 
pointed a commander-in-chief, and endeavored to defend his country, 
but the Japanese armies were everywhere victorious. After many bat- 
tles fought, and fortresses stormed, nearly all the provinces of the eight 
circuits were subdued, and the capital, Kenkitai, was taken. The king 
and his son fled. At one great battle, ten thousand Coreans are said 
to have been killed, and their ears cut off and preserved in salt or sake. 
The forts were garrisoned by Japanese troops. The Coreans asked 
the aid of China, and a Chinese army of assistance was sent forward, 
and after several severe battles the Japanese were compelled to fall 
back. Reserves from Japan were dispatched to Corea, and the Japa- 
nese were on the point of invading China, when, in 1598, the death of 
the taiko was announced, and orders were received from their Govern- 
ment to return home. A truce was concluded, and Corean envoys ac- 
companied Konishi to Japan. 

The conquest of Corea, thus ingloriously terminated, reflects no 
honor on Japan, and perhaps the responsibility of the outrage upon a 
peaceful nation rests wholly upon Hideyoshi. The Coreans were a 
mild and peaceable people, wholly unprepared for war. There was 
scarcely a shadow of provocation for the invasion, which was nothing 
less than a huge filibustering scheme. It was not popular with the 
people or the rulers, and was only carried through by the will of the 
taiko. While Japan was impoverished by the great drain on its re- 
sources, the soldiers abroad ruthlessly desolated the homes and need- 
lessly ravaged the land of the Coreans. While the Japanese were de- 
stroying the liberties of the Coreans, the poor natives at home often 
pawned or sold themselves as slaves to the Spaniards and Portuguese 
slave-traders. The sacrifice of life on either side must have been 
great, and all for the ambition of one man. Nevertheless, a party in 
Japan has long held that Corea was, by the conquests of the third 
and sixteenth centuries, a part of the Japanese empire, and the reader 
will see how in 1872, and again in 1875, the cry of "On to Corea!" 
shook the nation like an earthquake. 

The taiko died on the 15th of September, 1598. Before his death, 
he settled the form of government, and married his son Hideyori, then 
six years old, to the granddaughter of lyeyasu, and appointed five 
tairo, or ministers, who were to be guardians of the boy, and to ac- 


knowledge him as his father's successor. As lydyasu was the rising 
man, the taiko hoped thus to gain his influence, so that the power 
might descend in his own family. The last thoughts of the hero 
were of strengthening the citadel at Ozaka The old hero was buried 
in the grounds of Kodaiji, in Kioto. 

The victorious army, returning from Corea, brought much spoil, 
and fine timber to build a memorial temple to the memory of the 
dead hero. Among other trophies were several thousands of ears, 
which, instead of heads, the Japanese carried back to raise a barrow in 
Kioto. The temple was erected on a hill on the west side of Kioto 
by his wife, who, after the death of her husband, became a nun. This 
splendid edifice was afterward burned, and the site of the taiko's re- 
mains is uncertain. 

Alimidzuka (Ear Monument), in Kioto. (From a photograph.) 

In the city still stands the Mimidzuka (ear-tomb), a monument of 
characteristic appearance. It consists of a cube, sphere, and pagoda- 
curve, surmounted by two spheroids, the top-stone rising to a point. 
The mound is seven hundred and twenty feet in circumference, and 
ninety feet in height ; the pedestal at the top being twelve feet square, 
and the monument twelve feet high. As usual on Buddhist tombs or 
ecclesiastical edifices, a Sanskrit letter is carved on each side of the 
four faces of the cube. Beneath this tomb is a barrow, covering the 
dissevered ears of thousands of Coreans ; but the most enduring monu- 
ments of the great taiko were the political institutions, and the works 
of peace reared by his genius and labor. 


It is not difficult to account for the tone of admiration and pride 
with which a modern Japanese speaks of " the age of taiko." In his 
time, the arts and sciences were not only in a very flourishing condi- 
tion, but gave promise of rich development. The spirit of military 
enterprise and internal national improvement was at its height. Con- 
tact with the foreigners of many nations awoke a spirit of inquiry and 
intellectual activity ; but it was on the seas that genius and restless 
activity found their most congenial field. 

This era is marked by the highest perfection in marine architecture, 
and the extent and variety of commercial enterprises. The ships 
built in this century were twice or thrice the size, and vastly the 
superior in model, of the junks that now hug the Japanese shores, or 
ply between China and Japan. The pictures of them preserved to the 
present day show that they were superior in size to the vessels of 
Columbus, and nearly equal in sailing qualities to the contemporary 
Dutch and Portuguese galleons. They were provided with ordnance, 
and a model of a Japanese breech-loading cannon is still preserved in 
Kioto. Ever a brave and adventurous people, the Japanese then 
roamed the seas with a freedom that one who knows only of the 
modern shore-bound people would scarcely credit. Voyages of trade, 
discovery, or piracy had been made to India, Siam, Burmah, the Phil- 
ippines, Southern China, the Malay Archipelago, and the Kuriles, on 
the north, even in the fifteenth century, but were most numerous in 
the sixteenth. The Japanese gave the name to the island of Boson 
(Luzon), and the descendants of Japanese pirates or traders are still to 
be found in numbers in this archipelago. In the city of Ayuthaya, 
on the Menam, in Siam, a flourishing sea-port, the people call one part 
of the place the " Japanese quarter." The Japanese literature contains 
many references to these adventurous sailors; and when the records 
of the Far East are thoroughly investigated, and this subject fully 
studied, very interesting results will be obtained, showing the wide- 
spread influence of Japan at a time when she was scarcely known by 
the European world to have existence. 




IT seems now nearly certain that when Columbus set sail from 
Spain to discover a new continent, it was not America he was seek- 
ing ; for of that he knew nothing. His quest was the land of Japan. 
Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler, had spent seventeen years (1275- 
1292) at the court of the Tartar emperor, Kublai Khan, and while in 
Peking had heard of a land lying to the eastward called, in the lan- 
guage of the Chinese capital, Jipangti, from which our modern name, 
Japan, has been corrupted. Columbus was an ardent student of Polo's 
book, which had been published in 1298. lie sailed westward across 
the Atlantic to find this kingdom of the sun-source. He discovered, 
not Japan, but an archipelago in America, on whose shores he eagerly 
inquired concerning Jipangtt. The torch of modern discovery thus 
kindled by him was handed on by Vasco da Gama, and a host of 
brave Portuguese navigators, who drove their keels into the once un- 
known seas of the Orient, and came back to tell of densely populated 
empires enriched with the wealth that makes civilization possible, and 
of which Europe had scarcely heard. Their accounts fired the hearts 
of the zealous who longed to convert the heathen, aroused the cupidity 
of traders who thirsted for gold, and kindled the desire of monarchs to 
found empires in Asia. 

As the Spaniards had founded an empire in America, Portugal was 
then nearing the zenith of her maritime glory. Mendez Pinto, a Por- 
tuguese adventurer, seems to have been the first European who landed 
on Japanese soil. On his return to Europe, he told so many wonder- 
ful stories that he was dubbed, by a pun on his Christian name, " the 

* In compiling this chapter, I have made use of Hildreth's "Japan as it Was 
and Is;" L^on Page's "Histoire de la Religion Chrelienne au Japon;" Char- 
levoix's" Histoire duChristianismeau Japon;" Dixon's" Japan;" "Shimabara: A 
Japanese Account of the Christian Insurrection in 1637;" the Japanese Encyclo- 
paedia, San Sai Dzu Ye; and the able paper of Herr Von Brandt (Minister of the 
North German Confederation in Japan) read before the German Asiatic Society 
of Japan. 


mendacious." His narrative was, however, as we now know, substan- 
tially correct. Pinto, while in China, had got on board a Chinese 
junk, commanded by a pirate. They were attacked by another cor- 
sair, their pilot was killed, and the vessel was driven off the coast by 
a storm. They made for the Liu Kiu Islands ; but, unable to find a 
harbor, put to sea, and after twenty-three days beating about, sighted 
the island of Tane (Tanegashima, island of the seed), off the south of 
Kiushiu, and landed. The name of the island was significant. The 
arrival of those foreigners was the seed of troubles innumerable. The 
crop was priestcraft of the worst type, political intrigue, religious per- 
secution, the Inquisition, the slave-trade, the propagation of Christian- 
ity by the sword, sedition, rebellion, and civil war. Its harvest was 
garnered in the blood of sixty thousand Japanese. 

The native histories recount the first arrival of Europeans on Tane- 
gashima in 1542, and note that year as the one in which fire-arms 
were first introduced. Pinto and his two companions were armed 
with arquebuses, which delighted this people, ever ready to accept 
whatever will tend to their advantage. They were even more im- 
pressed with the novel weapons than by the strangers. Pinto was in- 
vited by the Daimio of Bungo to visit him, which he did. The na- 
tives began immediately to make guns and powder, the secret of which 
was taught them by their visitors. In a few years, as we know from 
Japanese history, fire-arms came into general use. To this day many 
country people call them " Tanegashima." Thus, in the beginning, 
hand-in-hand came foreigners, Christianity, and fire-arms. To many a 
native they are still each and equal members of a trinity of terrors, and 
one is a synonym of the other. Christianity to most of " the heathen " 
still means big guns and powder. 

In those days commerce and piracy, war and religion, were closely 
united ; and the sword and the cross were twin weapons, like the cime- 
ter and the Koran of the Turks, by which the pious robbers of the 
most Christian empires of Spain and Portugal went forth to conquer 
weak nations. 

The pirate-trader who brought Pinto to Japan cleared twelve hun- 
dred per cent, on his cargo, and the three Portuguese returned, loaded 
with presents, to China. This new market attracted hundreds of Por- 
tuguese adventurers to Japan, who found a ready welcome at the hands 
of the impressible people. The daimios vied with each other in at- 
tracting the foreigners to their shores, their object being to obtain the 
weapons, and get the wealth which would increase their power, as the 


authority of the Ashikaga shoguns had before this time been cast off, 
and each chief was striving for local supremacy. 

The missionary followed the merchant. Already the Portuguese 
priests and Franciscan friars were numerous in India and the straits. 
A native of Satsuma named Anjiro, who, having killed a man, had 
fled to Pinto's boat, and was carried off by him, after the long suffer- 
ings of remorse reached Goa, becoming a convert to Christianity. 
Learning to read and write Portuguese, and having mastered the whole 
Christian doctrine, he became Xavier's interpreter. To the question 
whether the Japanese would be likely to accept Christianity, Anjiro 
answered in words that seem fresh, pertinent, and to have been ut- 
tered but yesterday, so true are they still that " his people would not 
immediately assent to what might be said to them, but they would 
investigate what I might affirm respecting religion by a multitude of 
questions, and, above all, by observing whether my conduct agreed with 
my words. This done, the king (daimio), the nobility, and adult pop- 
ulation would flock to Christ, being a nation which always follows rea- 
son as a guide." The words are recorded by Xavier himself. 

In 1 549, the party of two Jesuits and two Japanese landed at Ka- 
goshima, in Satsuma. Xavier, after studying the rudiments of the lan- 
guage, beyond which he never advanced, and making diligent use of 
the pictures of the Virgin and Child, soon left the capital of this war- 
like clan, for the city had not been favored with the commerce of the 
Portuguese ; and, as the missionaries had not come to improve the 
material resources of the province, they were not warmly welcomed. 
He then went to Bungo and Nagato. Besides having an interpreter, 
though unable to preach, he used to read the Gospel of Matthew trans- 
lated by Anjiro into Japanese, and Romanized. Though unable to 
understand much of it, he read it in public with great effect. There 
trade was flourishing and enriching the daimios, and he was warmly 
received by them. His next step was a journey to Kioto. There, in- 
stead of the extraordinary richness of the sovereign's palace, which he 
had expected to see plated with gold on the roofs and ceilings, with 
tables of the same metal, and all the other wonders as related by Mar- 
co Polo, he found it but a city which wars and fires had rendered des- 
olate, and almost uninhabitable, except as a camp. Here he employed 
the policy of austerity and poverty, his appearance being that of a beg- 
gar, though later he used wealth and great display in his ministrations, 
with marked effect. The mikado's (dairi) authority, he found, was 
merely nominal ; the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, ruled only over a 


few provinces around the capital. Every one's thoughts were of war, 
and battle was imminent The very idea of an interview with the mi- 
kado was an absurdity, and one with the Kubo sama (shogun) an im- 
possibility, his temporary poverty not permitting him to make a pres- 
ent effectively large enough for the latter, and rendering him con- 
temptible in the eyes of the people. He attempted to preach several 
times in the streets, but, not being master of the language, failed to se- 
cure attention, and after two weeks left the city disgusted. Not long 
after, having turned his attention to the furtherance of trade and di- 
plomacy, he departed from Japan, disheartened by the realities of mis- 
sionary work He had, however, inspired others, who followed him, 
and their success was amazingly great. Within five years after Xavier 
visited Kioto, seven churches were established in the vicinity of the 
city itself, while scores of Christian communities had sprung up in the 
south-west. In 1581, there were two hundred churches, and one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand native Christians. In Bungo, where Xavier 
won his way by costly gifts, as he did in Suwo by diplomacy ; in Hari- 
ma and Omura, the daimios themselves had professed the new faith, 
while Nobunaga, the hater of the Buddhists, openly favored the Chris- 
tians, and gave them eligible sites upon which to build dwellings and 
churches. Ready to use any weapons against the bonzes, Nobunaga 
hoped to use the foreigners as a counterpoise to their arrogance. 

In 1583, an embassy of four young noblemen was dispatched by 
the Christian daimios of Kiushiu to the pope, to declare themselves 
vassals of the Holy See. Eight years afterward, having had audience 
of Philip II. of Spain, and kissed the feet of the pope at Rome, they 
returned, bringing with them seventeen Jesuit missionaries an im- 
portant addition to the many Portuguese religious of that order al- 
ready in Japan. Spanish mendicant friars from the Philippine Isl- 
ands, with Dominicans and Augustans, also flocked into the country, 
preaching and zealously proselyting. The number of " Christians " at 
the time of the highest success of the missionaries in Japan was, ac- 
cording to their own figures, six hundred thousand a number which 
I believe is no exaggeration, the quantity, not quality, being consid- 
ered. The Japanese, less accurately, set down a total of two million 
nominal adherents to the Christian sects, large numerical statements 
in Japanese books being untrustworthy, and often worthless. Among 
their converts were several princes, and large numbers of lords and 
gentlemen in high official position, generals and captains in the army, 
and the admiral and officers of the Japanese fleets. Several of the la- 


dies of the households of Hideyoshi, Hideyori, and lyeyasti, besides 
influential women of noble blood in many provinces whose rulers were 
not Christians, added to their power, while at the seat of government 
the chief interpreter was a Jesuit father. Churches, chapels, and resi- 
dences of the fathers were numbered by thousands, and in some prov- 
inces crosses and Christian shrines were as numerous as the kindred 
evidences of Buddhism had been before. The fathers and friars had 
traveled or preached from one end of the western half of Hondo to 
the other; northward in Echizen, Kaga, Echigo, and Oshiu, and in 
the provinces of the Tokaido. They had also one church in Yedo. 

The causes of this astonishingly rapid success of the Jesuits are to be 
sought in the mental soil which the missionaries found ready prepared 
for their seed. It was in the later days of the Ashikaga, when Xavier 
arrived in Japan. Centuries of misrule and anarchy had reduced the 
people, on whom the burdens of war fell, to the lowest depths of pov- 
erty and misery. The native religions then afforded little comfort or 
consolation to their adherents. Shinto had sunk to a myth almost 
utterly unknown to the people, and so overshadowed by Buddhism 
that only a few scholars knew its origin. Buddhism, having lost its 
vitalizing power, had degenerated into a commercial system of prayers 
and masses, in which salvation could be purchased only by the merit 
of the deeds and prayers of the priests. Nevertheless, its material and 
outward splendor were never greater. Gorgeous vestments, blazing 
lights, imposing processions, altars of dazzling magnificence, and a 
sensuous worship captivated the minds of the people, while indulgences 
were sold, and saints' days and holidays and festivals were multiplied. 

The Japanese are an intensely imaginative people; and whatever 
appeals to the aesthetics of sense, or fires the imagination, leads the 
masses captive at the will of their religious leaders. The priests of 
Rome came with crucifixes in their hands, eloquence on their lips, and 
with rich dresses, impressive ceremonies, processions, and mysteries 
out-dazzled the scenic display of the Buddhists. They brought pict- 
ures, gilt crosses, and images, and erected gorgeous altars, which they 
used as illuminated texts for their sermons. They preached the doc- 
trine of an immediate entrance into paradise after death to all be- 
lievers, a doctrine which thrilled their hearers to an uncontrollable 
pitch of enthusiasm. Buddhism promises rest in heaven only after 
many transformations, births, and the repeated miseries of life and 
death, the very thought of which wearies the soul. The story of the 
Cross, made vivid by fervid eloquence, tears, and harrowing pictures 


and colored images, which bridged the gulf of remoteness, and made 
the act of Calvary near and intensely real, melted the hearts of the 
impressible natives. Furthermore, the transition from the religion of 
India to that of Rome was extremely easy. The very idols of Buddha 
served, after a little alteration with the chisel, for images of Christ. 
The Buddhist saints were easily transformed into the Twelve Apostles. 
The Cross took the place of the torii. It was emblazoned on the hel- 
mets and banners of the warriors, and embroidered on their breasts. 
The Japanese soldiers went forth to battle like Christian crusaders. 
In the roadside shrine Kuanon, the Goddess of Mercy, made way for 
the Virgin, the mother of God. Buddhism was beaten with its own 
weapons. Its own artillery was turned against it. Nearly all the 
Christian churches were native temples, sprinkled and purified. The 
same bell, whose boom had so often quivered the air announcing the 
orisons and matins of paganism, was again blessed and sprinkled, and 
called the same hearers to mass and confession ; the same lavatory 
that fronted the temple served for holy-water or baptismal font ; the 
same censer that swung before Amida could be refilled to waft Chris- 
tian incense; the new convert could use unchanged his old beads, 
bells, candles, incense, and all the paraphernalia of his old faith in 
celebration of the new. 

Almost every thing that is distinctive in the Roman form of Chris- 
tianity is to be found in Buddhism : images, pictures, lights, altars, 
incense, vestments, masses, beads, wayside shrines, monasteries, nun- 
neries, celibacy, fastings, vigils, retreats, pilgrimages, mendicant vows, 
shorn heads, orders, habits, uniforms, nuns, convents, purgatory, saint- 
ly and priestly intercession, indulgences, works of supererogation, 
pope, archbishops, abbots, abbesses, monks, neophytes, relics and relic- 
worship, exclusive burial-ground, etc., etc., etc. 

The methods which the foreign priests employed to propagate the 
new faith were not such as commend themselves to a candid mind. 
The first act of propagation was an act of Mariolatry. They brought 
with them the spirit of the Inquisition, then in full blast in Spain and 
Portugal, which they had used there for the reclamation of native and 
Dutch heretics. In Japan they began to attack most violently the 
character of the native bonzes, and to incite their converts to insult 
the gods, destroy the idols, and burn or desecrate the old shrines. 
They made plentiful use of the gold furnished liberally by the kings 
of Portugal and Spain, under the name of " alms." In two years and 
a half Xavier received one thousand doubloons (fifteen thousand dol- 


lars) for the support of his mission. This abundance of the foreign 
precious metal was noticed especially by the native rulers. In Kiu- 
shiu the daimios themselves became Christians, and they compelled 
their subjects to embrace their religion. The people of whole districts 
of country were ordered to become Christians, or to leave their land 
and the homes of their fathers, and go into banishment. The bonzes 
were exiled or killed ; and fire and sword, as well as preaching, were 
employed as instruments of conversion. Furthermore, fictitious mira- 
cles were frequently got up to utilize the credulity of the superstitious 
iu furthering the spread of the faith, glowing accounts of which may 
be found in Leon Page's " Histoirc de la R. C." Not only do the na- 
tive Japanese writers record these things as simple matter of fact, but 
the letters of the Jesuits themselves, and the books written by them, 
teem with instances of ferocious cruelty and pious fraud wrought in 
their behalf, or at their instigation. The following passages from the 
Jesuit Charlevoix's " Histoire du Christianisme au Japon " are trans- 
lated by Dr. Walter Dixon in his " Japan :" " Sumitanda, King of 
Omura, who had become a Christian in 1562, declared open war 
against the devils [bonzes]. He dispatched some squadrons through 
his kingdom to ruin all the idols and temples without any regard to 
the bonzes' rage.".... "In 1577, the lord of the island of Ama- 
cusa [Amakusa] issued his proclamation, by which his subjects 
whether bonzes or gentlemen, merchants or tradesmen were required 
either to turn Christians, or to leave the country the very next day. 
They almost all submitted, and received baptism, so that in a short 
time there were more than twenty churches in the kingdom. God 
wrought miracles to confirm the faithful in their belief." The Daimio 
of Takaski, in Settsu, " labored with a zeal truly apostolic to extirpate 
the idolaters out of his states. He sent word that they should either 
receive the faith, or be gone immediately out of his country, for he 
would acknowledge none for his subjects but such as acknowledged 
the true God. The declaration obliged them all to accept instruction, 
which cut out work enough for all the fathers and missionaries at 
Meaco [Miako]." 

The Daimio of Bungo at one time, during war, destroyed a most 
prodigious and magnificent temple, with a colossal 1 statue, burning 
three thousand monasteries to ashes, and razing the temples to the 
ground. The comment of the Jesuit writer on this is, " This ardent 
zeal of the prince is an evident instance of his faith and charity." 
This does not, however, sound like an echo of the song once heard 


above the Bethlehem hills, few echoes of which the Japanese have as 
yet heard. 

As the different orders, Jesuits, Franciscans, and Augustinians, in- 
creased, they began to trench upon each other's parishes. This gave 
rise to quarrels, indecent squabbles, and mutual vituperation, at which 
the pagans sneered and the bonzes rejoiced. While the friars of 
these orders were rigorously excommunicating each other, thinking 
heathen were not favorably impressed with the new religion. Chris- 
tianity received her sorest wound in the house of her friends. 

At this time, also, political and religious war was almost universal 
in Europe, and the quarrels of the various nationalities followed the 
buccaneers, pirates, traders, and missionaries to the distant seas of 
Japan. The Protestant, Dutch, and English stirred up the hatred 
and fear of the Japanese against the papists, and finally against each 
other. Spaniards and Portuguese blackened the character of the here- 
tics, and as vigorously abused each other when it served their interest. 
All of which impelled the shrewd Japanese to contrive how to use 
them one against the other, an art which they still understand. All 
foreigners, but especially Portuguese, then were slave-traders, and 
thousands of Japanese were bought and sold and shipped to Macao, 
in China, and to the Philippines. The long civil wars, and the misery 
caused by them, and the expedition to Corea, had so impoverished the 
people that slaves became so cheap that even the Malay and negro 
servants of the Portuguese, speculated in the bodies of Japanese slaves 
who were bought and sold and transported, jlideyoshi repeatedly 
issued decrees threatening with death these slave-traders, and oven the 
purchasers. The sea-ports of Hirado and Nagasaki were the resort 
of the lowest class of adventurers from all European nations, and the 
result was a continual series of uproars, broils, and murders among 
the foreigners, requiring ever and anon the intervention of the native 
authorities to keep the peace. To the everlasting honor of some of 
the Jesuit bishops and priests be it said, they endeavored to do all 
they could to prevent the traffic in the bodies of men. 

Such a picture of foreign influence and of Christianity, which is 
here drawn in mild colors, as the Japanese saw it, was not calculated 
to make a permanently favorable impression on the Japanese mind. 

While Nobunaga lived, and the Jesuits basked in his favor, all was 
progress and victory. Jlideyoshi, though at first favorable to the new 
religion, issued, in 1587, a~3ecf6e^of bafiishment against the foreign 
missionaries. The Jesuits closed their churches and chapels, ceased 


_to^ preach in public, but carried on their proselyting work in private 
as vigorously as ever, averaging ten thousand converts a year, until 
1 590. The Spanish mendicant friars, pouring in from the Philippines, 
openly defied the Japanese laws, preaching in their usual garb in pub- 
lic, and in their intemperate language. This aroused Hid^yoshi's 
attention, and his decree of expulsion was renewed. Some of the 
churches were burned. In 1596, six Franciscan, three Jesuit, and sev- 
enteen Japanese converts were taken to Nagasaki, and there crucified. 
Still the Jesuits resided in the country, giving out to the people that 
the Spaniards nourished the political designs against Japan, and that 
the decrees of expulsion had been directed against the priests of that 
nation, and that the late outburst of persecution was an explosion of 
zeal on the part of a few subordinate officials. Several of the gener- 
als of the army in Corea still openly professed the Christian faith. 

When the taiko died, affairs seemed to take a more favorable turn, 
but only for a few years. The Christians looked to Hideyoshi as 
their friend and quasi-leader. The battle of Sekigahara, and the de- 
feat of Hideyori's following, blew their hopes to the winds ; and the 
ignominious death of Ishida, Konishi, and Otani, the Christian gener- 
als who had witnessed a good confession both as warriors and as up- 
holders of the faith in Corea and at home, drove their adherents to 
the verge of despair. lyeyasu. re-adjusted the feudal relations of his 
vassals in Kiushiu ; and as the taiko had also re-arranged the fiefs, the 
political status of the Christians was profoundly altered. The new 
daimios, carrying the policy of their predecessors as taught them by 
the Jesuits, but reversing its direction, began to persecute their Chris- 
tian subjects, and to compel them to renounce their faith. The native 
converts resisted even to blood and the taking-up of arms. This was 
an entirely new thing under the Japanese sun. Hitherto the attitude 
of the peasantry to the Government had been one of passive obedi- 
ence and slavish submission. The idea of armed rebellion among the 
farmers was something so wholly new that lyeyasu suspected foreign 
instigation. Color was given to this idea by the fact that the foreign- 
ers still secretly or openly paid court to Hideyori, and at the same 
time freely dispersed gold and gifts, in addition to religious comfort, 
_to the persecuted. lyeyasu became more vigilant as his suspicions in- 
creased, and, resolving to crush this spirit of independence and intimi- 
date the foreign emissaries, met every outbreak with bloody reprisals. 
In 1606, an edict from Yedo forbade the exercise of the Christian re- 
ligion, but an outward show of obedience warded off active persecu- 



tion. In 1610, the Spanish friars again aroused the wrath of the Gov- 
ernment by defying its commands, and exhorting the native converts 
to do likewise. In 1611, lyeyasu obtained documentary proof of 
what he had long suspected, viz., the existence of a plot on the part of 
the native converts and the foreign emissaries to reduce Japan to the 
position of a subject state. The chief conspirator, Okubo, then Gov- 
ernor of Sado, to which place thousands of Christian exiles had been 
sent to work the mines, was to be made hereditary ruler by the for- 
eigners. The names of the chief native and foreign conspirators were 
written down, with the usual seal of blood from the end of the middle 
finger of the ringleader. With this paper was found concealed, in an 
iron box in an old well, a vast hoard of gold and silver. 

lyeyasu now put forth strenuous measures to root out utterly what 
he believed to be a pestilent breeder of sedition and war. Fresh edicts 
were issued, and in 1614 twenty-two Franciscan, Dominican, and Au- 
gustinian friars, one hundred and seventeen Jesuits, and hundreds of 
native priests and catechists, were embarked by force on board junks, 
and sent out of the country. 

In 1615, lyeyasu pushed matters to an extreme with Hideyori, who 
was then entertaining some Jesuit priests ; and, calling out the troops 
of Kiushiu and the Kuanto, laid siege to the castle of Ozaka. A bat- 
tle of unusual ferocity and bloody slaughter raged, on the 9th of June, 
1615, ending in the burning of the citadel, and the total defeat and 
death of Hideyori and thousands of his followers. The Jesuit fathers 
say that one hundred thousand men perished in this brief war, of 
which vivid details are given in the " Histoire de la Religion Chretienne." 
The Christian cause was now politically and irretrievably ruined. Hil- 
dredth remarks that Catholicism in Japan " received its death-blow in 
that same year in which a few Puritan pilgrims landed at Plymouth 
to plant the obscure seeds of a new and still growing Protestant em- 

The exiled foreign friars, however, kept secretly returning, apparent- 
ly desirous of the crown of martyrdom. Hidetada, the shogun, now 
pronounced sentence of death against any foreign priest found in the 
country. lyemitsu, his successor, restricted all foreign commerce to 
Nagasaki and Hirado ; all Japanese were forbidden to leave the coun- 
try on pain of death; and in 1624 all foreigners, except Dutch and 
Chinese, were banished from Japan, and an edict was issued command- 
ing the destruction of all vessels beyond a certain diminutive size, and 
restricting the universal model in ship-building to that of the coasting 


junk. Fresh persecutions followed, many apostate lords and gentry 
now favoring the Government. Fire and sword were used to extir- 
pate Christianity, and to paganize the same people who in their youth 
were Christianized by the same means. Thousands of the native con- 
verts fled to China, Formosa, and the Philippines. All over the em- 
pire, but especially at Ozaka and in Kiushiu, the people were com- 
pelled to trample on the cross, or on a copper plate engraved with the 
representation of " the Christian criminal God." The Christians suf- 
fered all sorts of persecutions. They were wrapped in straw sacks, 
piled in heaps of living fuel, and set on fire. All the tortures that 
barbaric hatred or refined cruelty could invent were used to turn thou- 
sands of their fellow-men into carcasses and ashes. Yet few of the 
natives quailed, or renounced their faith. They calmly let the fire of 
wood cleft from the crosses before which they once prayed consume 
them, or walked cheerfully to the blood-pit, or were flung alive into 
the open grave about to be filled up. Mothers carried their babes at 
their bosoms, or their children in their arms to the fire, the sword, or 
the precipice's edge, rather than leave them behind to be educated in 
the pagan faith. If any one doubt the sincerity and fervor of the 
Christian converts of to-day, or the ability of the Japanese to accept a 
higher form of faith, or their willingness to suffer for what they be- 
lieve, they have but to read the accounts preserved in English, Dutch, 
French, Latin, and Japanese, of various witnesses to the fortitude of 
the Japanese Christians of the seventeenth century. The annals of 
the primitive Church furnish no instances of sacrifice or heroic con- 
stancy, in the Coliseum or the Roman arenas, that were not paralleled 
on the dry river-beds and execution-grounds of Japan. 

Finally, in 1637, at Shimabara, the Christians rose by tens of thou- 
sands in arms, seized an old castle, repaired and fortified it, and raised 
the fla"- of rebellion. Annies from Kiushiu and the KuantO, emu- 

O ' 

posed mainly ^of veterans of Corea and Ozaka, were sent by the sho- 
<jun to besiege it. Their commanders expected an easy victory, and 
sneered at the idea of having any difficulty in subduing these farmers 
and peasants. A siege of two months, by land and water, was, how- 
ever, necessary to reduce the fortress, which was finally done with the 
aid of Dutch cannon, furnished under compulsion by the traders at 
Deshima. The intrepid garrison, after great slaughter, surrendered, 
and then the massacre of thirty-seven thousand Christians began, and 
was finished by the hurling of thousands more from the rock of Pap- 
pcnberg, in Nagasaki harbor. Thousands more were banished to va- 



rious provinces, or put to death by torture. Others escaped, and 
fled to the island of Formosa, joining their brethren already there. 
The edicts prohibiting the " evil sect " were now promulgated and 
published permanently all over the empire, and new ones commanded 
that, as long as the sun should shine, no foreigners should enter Ja- 
pan, or natives leave it The Dutch gained the privilege of a paltry 
trade and residence on the little fan-shaped island of Deshima (outer 
island), in front of Nagasaki. Here, under degrading restrictions and 
constant surveillance, lived a little company of less than twenty Hol- 
landers, who were allowed one ship per annum to come from the 

"The Tarpeian Hock of Japan:" the Island of Pappenberg, iu Nagasaki Harbor, 
need as a picnic resort.) 


Dutch East Indies and exchange commodities of Japan for those of 

After" nearly a hundred years of Christianity and foreign inter- 
course, the only apparent results of this contact with another religion 
and civilization were the adoption of gunpowder, and fire-arms as 
weapons, the use of tobacco, and the habit of smoking, the making 
of sponge-cake (still called Castira the Japanese form of Castile), 
the naturalization into the language of a few foreign words, the intro- 
duction of new and strange forms of disease, among which the Japa- 


nese count the scourge of the venereal virus, and the permanent addi- 
tion to that catalogue of terrors which priest and magistrate in Asiat- 
ic countries ever hold as weapons to overawe the herd. For centuries 
the mention of that name would bate the breath, blanch the cheek, 
and smite with fear as with an earthquake shock. It was the syno- 
nym of sorcery, sedition, and all that was hostile to the purity of the 
home and the peace of society. All over the empire, in every city, 
town, village, and hamlet ; by the roadside, ferry, or mountain pass ; 
at every entrance to the capital, stood the public notice-boards, on 
which, with prohibitions against the great crimes that disturb the 
relations of society and government, was one tablet, written with a 
deeper brand of guilt, with a more hideous memory of blood, with a 
more awful terror of torture, than when the like superscription was 
affixed at the top of a cross that stood between two thieves on a little 
hill outside Jerusalem. Its daily and familiar sight startled ever and 
anon the peasant to clasp hands and utter a fresh prayer, the bonze 
to add new venom to his maledictions, the magistrate to shake his 
head, and to the mother a ready word to hush the crying of her fret- 
ful babe. That name was Christ. So thoroughly was Christianity, 
or the "Jashiu m&n" (corrupt sect), supposed to be eradicated before 
the end of the seventeenth century, that its existence was historical, 
remembered only as an awful scar on the national memory. No ves- 
tiges were supposed to be left of it, and no knowledge of its tenets 
was held, save by a very few scholars in Yedo, trained experts, who 
were kept, as a sort of spiritual blood-hounds, to scent out the adher- 
ents of the accursed creed. 

So perfect was the work done, that the Government believed fully, 
as Europeans, and among them Mr. Lecky, who uses the example to 
strengthen his argument, that " persecution had extirpated Christian- 
ity in Japan." It was left to our day, since the recent opening of 
Japan, for them to discover that a mighty fire had been smoldering 
for over two centuries beneath the ashes of persecutions. As late as 
1829, seven persons, six men and an old woman, were crucified in 
Ozaka, on suspicion of being Christians and communicating with for- 
eigners. When the French brethren of the Mission Apostolique, of 
Paris, came to Nagasaki in 1860, they found in the villages around 
them over ten thousand people who held the faith of their fathers of 
the seventeenth century. 

A few interesting traces and relics of the century of Christianity 
and foreigners still exist in Japan. In the language the names of 



God (Deus), Holy Spirit (Espiritu Santo), Jesus (Yesu), and Christ 
(Kirishito) have remained. Castira is still the name of sponge-cake, 
so universally used, and the making of which was first taught by the 
men of Castile ; and the Japanese having no I, change that letter into r. 
The Japanese have no word for bread ; they use the Latin pan. The 
words taffel (table), Dontaku (Sunday), cuppu (cup), rauda (lauda- 
num), yerikter (electricity), bouton (button), briki (tin), and many of 
the names of drugs and medicines, and rare metals and substances, 
terms in science, etc., and even some in common use, are but the Jap- 
anized forms of the Dutch words. I have seen " Weird Specifica " 

Hollander on Deshima looking for the Arrival of a Ship. 

and " Voum Von Mitter " in large Roman letters, or in katagana, ad- 
vertised on the hanging signs of the drug-shops in every part of the 
country I have been in, from Kobe to near Niigata, and other trav- 
elers have noticed it nearly everywhere in Japan. It is the old or 
incorrect spelling of the name of some Dutch nostrum. 

The natives speak of Christianity as the religion of the " Lord of 
Heaven." The destruction of the Christian churches, crosses, images, 
etc., was so thorough that the discovery of relics by modern seekers 
has been very rare. A few years ago, shortly after Perry's arrival, 


there was in Suruga a cave, to which the country people resorted in 
large numbers, on account of the great efficacy believed to reside in an 
image of the mother of Shaka (Buddha), with her infant in her arms. 
The idol was reputed to have healed many diseases. An educated 
samurai, who hated all foreigners and their ways and works, especially 
the " Jesus doctrine," happening to enter the cave, perceived in a mo- 
ment that the image was a relic of the old Christian worship. It was 
nothing else than an image of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. 
The samurai dashed it to pieces. 

The attempts of the English and French to open a permanent trade 
with Japan are described in Hildredth's "Japan as It Was and Is." 
Captain John Saris, with the ships Clove, Thomas, and Hector, left 
England in April, 1611, with letters from the king, James VI. of En- 
gland, to the " emperor " (shogun) of Japan. Landing at Hirado, he 
was well received, and established a factory in charge of Mr. Richard 
Cocks. With Will Adams and seventeen of his company, Saris set 
out to see lyeyasfi, who was then living at the modern Shidzuoka. 
He touched at Hakata, traversed the Inland Sea, past Shimonos6ki, to 
Ozaka ; thence by boat to Fushimi, thence by horse and palanquin to 
Sumpu (Shidzuoka). In the interview accorded the English captain, 
lyeyasu invited him to visit his son, Hidetada, the ruling shogun at 
Yedo. Saris went to Yedo, visiting, on his way, Kamakura and the 
great copper image of Dai Butsu, some of the Englishmen going in- 
side of it and shouting in it for the fun of the thing. They also 
wrote their own names inside of it, as foreign tourists, visitors, and 
even personal friends of republican rulers do to this day, and as the 
natives have always done, to immortalize themselves. After a stay 
in Yedo, they touched at Uraga ; thence returned to Sumpu, where a 
treaty, or privileges of trade, in eight articles, was signed and given to 
Saris. It bore the signature of Minamoto Iy6yasu. 

After a tour of three months, Saris arrived at Hirado again, having 
visited Kioto, where he saw the splendid Christian churches and Jes- 
uit colleges, on his way. After discouraging attempts to open a trade 
with Siam, Corea, and China, and hostilities having broken out be- 
tween them and the Dutch, the English abandoned the project of per- 
manent trade with Japan; and all subsequent attempts to reopen it 

Will Adams, who was an English pilot, and the first of his nation 
in Japan, is spoken of frequently, and in no flattering terms, by the 
Jesuit fathers. He arrived in Japan in 1607, and lived in or near 


Yedo till he died, in 1620. By the sheer force of a manly, honest 
character, this sturdy Briton, " who may have seen Shakspeare and 
Ben Jonson" and Queen Elizabeth, rose into favor with lyeyasu, 
and gained the regard of the people. His knowledge of ship-build- 
ing, mathematics, and foreign affairs made him a very useful man. 
Although treated with honor and kindness, he was not allowed to 
leave Japan. He had a wife and daughter in England. He was 
made an officer, and given the revenues of the village of Hemi, in Sa- 
gami, near the modern Yokosuka, where are situated the dry-docks, 
machine-shops, and ship-building houses in which the modern war-ves- 
sels of the imperial navy are built and launched a fitting location, so 
near the ground made classic by this exile from the greatest marine 
nation in the world. Will Adams had a son and daughter born to 
him in Japan, and there are still living Japanese who claim descent 
from him. One of the streets of Yedo was named after him, Anjin 
Cho (Pilot Street), and the people of that street still hold an annual 
celebration on the 15th of June in his honor, one of which I attended 
in 1873. When Adams died, he, and afterward his Japanese wife, 
were buried on the summit of one of the lovely hills overlooking the 
Bay of Yedo, Goldsborough Inlet, and the surrounding beautiful and 
classic landscape. Adams chose the spot himself. Ths people of 
Yedo erected memorial-stone lanterns at his tomb. Perry's fleet, in 
1854, anchored within the very shadow of the Englishman's sepul- 
chre. In May, 1872, Mr. Walters, of Yokohama, after a study of Hil- 
dreth and some search, discovered the tomb, which others had sought 
for in vain. Two neat stone shafts, in the characteristic style of na- 
tive monumental architecture, set on a stone pediment, mark the spot. 
I visited it, in company of the bonze in charge of the Shin shiu tem- 
ple of the village, in July, 1873. 

In Charlevoix's " Histoire du Christianisme au Japon," it is related 
that the Abbe Sidotti, an Italian priest, came to Manila, with the in- 
tention of landing in Japan, and once more attempting to regain Japan 
to Christianity. After several years' waiting, he persuaded the cap- 
tain of a vessel to take him to Satsuma and set him ashore. This 
was done in 1709. He was arrested and sent to Yedo. There he was 
confined in a house in the city district, called Koishikawa, on the 
slope of a hill ever since called Kirishitan zaka (Christian slope), as 
the valley at the foot is called Kirishitan dane (Christian valley), and 
the place Kirishitan gui (Christian neighborhood). Here the censors, 
judges, scholars, and interpreters assembled, and for many days ex- 


amined him, asking many questions and gaining much information 
concerning foreign countries. In another building near by, an old 
man and woman who had professed Christianity, and had been com- 
pelled to recant, were confined. After the abbe's arrival, exhorted by 
him, they again embraced their old faith. The abb6 gave his name 
as Jean Baptiste. He made a cross of red paper, which he pasted on 
the wall of his room. He was kept prisoner, living for several years 
after his arrival, in Yedo, and probably died a natural death. 

About ten years ago, the Rev. S. R. Brown, D.D., discovered a 
book called Sei Yd Ki Bun (Annals of Western Nations), in three 
volumes, written by the Japanese scholar who examined the abbe. 
The books contain a summary of the history and judicial proceedings 
in the case, and the information gained from the Italian. The whole 
narrative is of intensest interest. While in Tokio, in 1874, 1 endeav- 
ored to find the site of the Inquisition, and the martyr's tomb. 

Tradition says that the abbe was buried on the opposite slope of 
the valley corresponding to that on which he lived, under an old pine- 
tree, near a spring. Pushing my way through scrub bamboo along a 
narrow path scarcely perceptible for the undergrowth, I saw a name- 
less stone near a hollow, evidently left by a tree that had long since 
fallen and rotted away. A little run of water issued from a spring 
hard by. At the foot was a rude block of stone, with a hollow for 
water. Both were roughly hewn, and scarcely dressed with the chisel. 
Such stones in Japan mark the graves of those who die in disgrace, 
or unknown, or uncared for. This was all that was visible to remind 
the visitor of one whose heroic life deserved a nobler monument. 

The influence of a century of Papal Christianity in Japan on the 
national ethics and character was nil. A careful examination has not 
revealed any trace of new principles of morals adopted by the Japa- 
nese from foreigners in the sixteenth, as has been gained in the nine- 
teenth century, though the literary, scientific, and material gains were 
great. The Japanese mental constitution and moral character have 
been profoundly modified in turn by Buddhism and Confucianism, 
but the successive waves of Christianism that passed over Japan left 
no sediment teeming with fertility, rather a barren waste like that 
which the river-floods leave in autumn. I should be glad to see these 

statements disproved, Let us hope that the Christianity of the present, 

whether Catholic, Protestant, or Russo-Greek, may work a profounder 
and more beneficent revolution in faith and moral practice, and that 
only that kingdom may be established which is not of this world. 




THE last of struggles of rival military factions for the possession of 
power is now to be narrated, and the weary record of war and strife 
closed. Since 1159, when the Taira and Minamoto came to blows in 
the capital, and the imperial palace fell into the hands of armed men, 
and the domination of the military families began, until the opening 
of the seventeenth century the history of Japan is but that of civil 
war and slaughter. The history of two centuries and a half that fol- 
lowed the triumphs of lyeyasu is that of profound peace. Few na- 
tions in the world have enjoyed peace so long. 

The man who now stood foremost among men, who was a legislator 
as well as warrior, who could win a victory and garner the fruits of it, 
was Tokugawa lyeyasu, the hero of Sekigahara, the most decisive bat- 
tle in Japanese history, the creator of the perfected dual system and 
of feudalism, and the founder of Yedo. 

Yedo is not an ancient city. Its site becomes historic when Yama- 
to Dake, in the second century of our era, marched to conquer the 
Eastern tribes. In later times, the Minamoto chieftains subdued the 
plains of the Kuanto. Until the twelfth century, the region around 
the Bay of Yedo was wild, uncivilized, and sparsely populated, and 
the inhabitants were called by the polished Kioto people "Adzuma 
Ebisu," or Eastern boors. 

In the fifteenth century, a small castle was built on the rising 
ground within the western circuit of the present stronghold, and near 
Koji machi (Yeast Street), where now stands the British Legation. 
East of the castle was a small relay village, Temna Cho, near the 
modern site of the prison, at which officials or travelers, on their way 
to Kamakura or Kioto, vi& the Tokaido, might stop for rest and re- 
freshment, or to obtain fresh kagos (palanquins), bearers, and bag- 
gage-carriers. The name of the commander of the castle, Ota Do- 
kuan, a retainer of the shogun at Kamakura, and a doughty warrior, 
is still preserved in the memories of the people, and in poetry, song, 


art, and local lore. A hill in the north of the city, a delightful pic- 
nic resort, bears his name, and the neighborhood of Shiba was his 
favorite drill-ground and rendezvous before setting out on forays or 

One romantic incident, in which a maiden of equal wit and beauty 
bore chief part, has made him immortal, though the name of the fair 
one has been forgotten. One day, while out hawking near Yedo, a 
heavy shower of rain fell. Dismounting from his horse, he, with his 
attendant, approached a house, and in very polite terms begged the 
loan of a grass rain-coat (mino). A pretty girl, daughter of the man 
of the house, came out, listened, blushing, to the request, but, answer- 
ing not a word, ran to the garden, plucked a flower, handed it, with 
mischief in her eyes, to the hero, and then coquettishly ran away. 
Ota, chagrined and vexed at such apparently frivolous manners and 
boorish inhospitality, and the seeming slight put upon his rank, re- 
turned in wrath, and through the rain, to his castle, inwardly cursing 
the "Adzuma Ebisu," who did not know how to treat a gentleman. 
It happened that, shortly after, some court nobles from Kioto were 
present, sharing the hospitalities of the castle at Ycdo, to whom he 
related the incident. To his own astonishment, the guests were de- 
lighted. " Here," said they, " in the wilderness, and among the 'Ad- 
zuma Ebisu,' is a gentle girl, who is not only versed in classic poetry, 
but had the wit and maidenly grace to apply it in felicitous style." 
Ota had asked for a rain-coat (mino) ; the little coquette was too po- 
lite to acknowledge she had none. How could she say " no " to such 
a gallant ? Rather, to disguise her negative, she had handed him a 
mountain camellia ; and of this flower the poet of Yamato had, centu- 
ries ago, sung : " Although the mountain camellia has seven or eight 
petals, yet I grieve to say it has no seed " (mino). 

After the death of Ota, no name of any great note is attached to 
the unimportant village or fortress; but in 1590, at the siege of Oda- 
wara, Hideyoshi suggested to his general, ly^yasu, Yedo as the best 
site for the capital of the Kuanto. After the overthrow of the " later 
Hojo " clan, and the capture of their castle at Odawara, Iy6yasti went 
to Yedo and began to found a city. He set up his court, and watched 
his chances. 

lyeyasu was born at Okasaki, in Mikawa, in 1542 ; he served with 
,Nobunaga and with Hideyoshi; again fought with the latter, and 
again made terms with him. His first possessions were Mikawa and 
Suruga. In the latter province he built a fine castle at Sumpu (now 


called Shidzuoka), and made it his residence for many years. He seems 
to have had little to do with the Corean expedition. While busy in 
building Yedo in 1598, he received news of the taiko's sickness, at- 
tended his death-bed, and swore to protect and advance the interests 
of the child Hideyori, then six years old. 

The prospects of the boy were not very fine. In the first place, few 
people believed him to be the son of the taiko. In the second place, 
the high-spirited lords and nobles, who prided themselves on their blood 
and lineage, detested Hideyoshi as an upstart, and had been kept in 
curb only by his indomitable will and genius. They were still more 
incensed at the idea of his son Hideyori, even if a true son, succeed- 
ing. Again : . Hidenobu, the nephew of Nobunaga, was living, and 
put in a claim for power. His professed conversion to Christianity 
gave him a show of support among the Christian malcontents. As 
for lyeyasu, he was suspected of wishing to seize the military power 
of the whole empire. The strong hand of the taiko wa& no longer 
felt. The abandonment of the Corean invasion brought back a host 
of men and leaders, flushed with victory and ambition. Differences 
sprung up among the five governors. With such elements at work 
thousands of men, idle, to whom war was pastime and delight, princes 
eager for a fray in which land was the spoil, more than one man aspir- 
ing to fill the dead master's place only a spark was needed to kindle 
the blaze of war. 

The governors suspected lyeyasu. They began to raise an army, 
lyeyasu was not to be surprised. He followed the example of his 
rivals, and watched. I shall not tax the patience of the reader to fol- 
low through the mazes of the intricate quarrels which preceded the 
final appeal to arms. Suffice to say, that after the seizure and reseiz- 
ure of the citadel of Ozaka and the burning of the taiko's splendid 
palace in Fushimi, the army of the league and the army of lyeyasu 
met at Sekigahara (plain of the barrier), in Omi, near Lake Biwa. 

By this battle were decided the condition of Japan for over two 
centuries, the extinction of the claims of the line of Nobunaga and 
Hideyoshi, the settlement of the Tokugawa family in hereditary suc- 
cession to the shogunate, the fate of Christianity, the isolation of Ja- 
pan from the world, the fixing into permanency of the dual system 
and of feudalism, the glory and greatness of Yedo, and peace in Japan 
for two hundred and sixty-eight years. 

In the army of the league were the five governors appointed by the 
taiko, and the lords and vassals of Hideyoshi, and most of the generals 


and soldiers who had served in the Corean campaigns. Among them 
were the clans of Satsuma, ChOshiu, Uy^sugi, Ukita, Asano, and the 
famous Christian generals, Konishi and Ishida. This army, one hun- 
dred and eighty thousand strong, was a heterogeneous mass of veter- 
ans, acting under various leaders, and animated by various interests. 
As the leaders lacked unity of purpose, so the army was made the vic- 
tim of discordant counsels and orders. On the other hand, the army 
of one man, lyeyasQ, had one soul, one discipline, and one purpose. 
The Castle of Gifu, in Mino, was captured by one of his captains. On 
the 1st of October, 1600, lyeyasu marched from Yedo over the T5- 
kaidd with a re-enforcement of thirty thousand troops. His standard 
was a golden fan and a white flag embroidered with hollyhocks. The 
diviners had declared " the road to the West was shut." Iy6yasii 
answered, "Then I shall open it by knocking." On the thirteenth 
day he arrived at Gifu, where he effected a junction with his main 
body. Some one offered him a persimmon (ogaki). He said, as it 
fell in his hand, " Ogaki waga te ni otsuru " (" Ogaki has fallen into 
my hand "). He threw it down, and allowed his attendants to eat the 
good-omened and luscious pieces. 

The battle-field at Sekigahara is an open, rolling space of ground, 
lying just inside the eastern slope of hills on the west wall of Lake 
Biwa, and part of the populous plain drained by the Kiso gawa, a 
branch of which crosses the field and winds round the hill, on which, 
at that time, stood a residence of the Portuguese missionaries. The 
Nakasendo,* one of the main roads between Yedo and Kioto, enters 
from Omi, and bisects the field from west to east, while from the north- 
west, near the village of Sekigahara, the road enters from Echizeu. By 

* The Nakasendo (Central Mountain Road) is three hundred and eighty-one 
miles long. It begins at the Bridge of Sanjo, over the river at Kioto, and ends at 
Nihon Bridge in Tokio. It was used, in part, as early as the second century, but 
was more fully opened in the early part of the eighth century. It passes through 
Omi, Mino, Shinano, Kodzuke", terminating in Musashi. It can be easily trav- 
ersed in fourteen days ; but the tourist who can understand and appreciate all 
he sees would be reluctant to perform the tour, if for pleasure, in less than a 
month. There are on the route nine toge (mountain passes). It carries the trav- 
eler through the splendid scenery of Shinano, which averages twenty-five hun- 
dred feet above the sea-level, along Lake Biwa, and nearly its whole length is 
classic ground. The Nakasendo is sometimes called the Kisokaido. An excel- 
lent guide-book, in seven volumes, full of good engravings, published in 1805, 
called Kisoji Meisho Dzuye (" Collection of Pictures of Famous Places on the Na- 
kasendo"), furnishes the information that makes a sight of the famous places 
very enjoyable. The heights of the toge are as follows : 620, 2150, 3060, 4340, 3680, 
5590, 3240, and 4130 feet, respectively. 


this road the writer, in 1872, came to reach the classic site and study 
the spot around which cluster so many stirring memories. The lead- 
ers of the army of the league, having arranged their plans, marched 
out from the Castle of Ogaki at early morn on the fifteenth day of 
the Ninth month. They built a fire on a hill overlooking the narrow 
path, to guide them as they walked without keeping step. It was 
raining, and the armor and clothes of the soldiers were very wet. At 
five o'clock they reached the field, the Satsuma clan taking up their 
position at the foot of a hill facing east. Konishi, the Christian hero 
of Corea, commanded the left centre, Ishida the extreme left. Four 
famous commanders formed, with their corps, the right wing. Re- 
serves were stationed on and about the hills facing north. The cav- 
alry and infantry, according to the Guai Shi figures, numbered one 
hundred and twenty-eight thousand. 

At early morn of the same day one of the pickets of lyeyasu's out- 
posts hastened to the tent of his general and reported that all the en- 
emy had left the Castle of Ogaki. Other pickets, from other points, 
announced the same reports simultaneously. lyeyasu, in high glee, 
exclaimed, " The enemy has indeed fallen into my hand." He order- 
ed his generals to advance and take positions on the field, himself 
leading the centre. His force numbered seventy-five thousand. 

This was the supreme moment of lyeyasu's life. The picture as 
given us by native artist and tradition is that of a medium-sized and 
rotund man, of full, round, and merry face, who loved mirth at the 
right time and place, and even when others could not relish or see its 
appropriateness. Of indomitable will and energy, and having a gen- 
ius for understanding men's natures, he astonished his enemies by ce- 
lerity of movement and the promptitude with which he followed up 
his advantages. Nevertheless, he was fond of whims. One of these 
was to take a hot bath before beginning a battle ; another was to is- 
sue ambiguous orders purposely when he wished to leave a subordi- 
nate to act according to his own judgment. On the present occasion, 
his whim was to go into battle with armor donned, but with no hel- 
met on, knotting his handkerchief over his bare forehead. A dense 
fog hung like a pall over the battle-field, so that one could not see far- 
ther than a few feet. 

The two armies, invisible, stood facing each other. However, lye- 
yasu sent an officer with a body of men with white flags, who ad- 
vanced six hundred feet in front of the main army, to prevent surprise. 
At eight o'clock the fog lifted and rolled away, and the two hosts de- 


scried each other. After a few moments' waiting, the drums and 
concha of the centre of each army sounded, and a sharp fire of match- 
locks and a shower of arrows opened the battle. The easterners at 
first wavered, and till noon the issue was doubtful. Cannon were 
used during the battle, but the bloodiest work was done with the 
sword and spear. One of the corps in the army of the league deserted 
and joined the side of lyeyasti. At noon, the discipline and unity of 
the eastern army and the prowess and skill of lyeyasu triumphed. 
Ordering his conch-blowers and drummers to beat a final charge, and 
the reserves having joined the main body, a charge was made along 
the whole line. The enemy, routed, broke and fled. Nearly all the 
wounded, and hundreds of unscathed on the battle-field, committed 
hara-kiri in order not to survive the disgrace. The pursuers cut off 
the heads of all overtaken, and the butchery was frightful. The grass 
was dyed red, and the moor became literally, not only an Aceldama, 
but a Golgotha. According to the Ouai Shi's exaggerated figures, 
forty thousand heads were cut off. Of the Eastern army four thousand 
were slain, but no general was killed. The soldiers assembled, accord- 
ing to custom, after the battle in the centre of the field, to show their 
captives and heads. On this spot now stands a memorial mound of 
granite masonry within a raised earthen embankment, surrounded and 
approached from the road by rows of pine-trees. On the Kioto side 
of the village, near the shrine of Hachiman, may be seen a kubidzuka 
(barrow, or pile of heads), the monument of this awful slaughter, and 
one of the many such evidences of former wars which careful travelers 
in Japan so often notice. 

lyeyasu went into the fight bare-headed. After the battle he sat 
down upon his camp-stool, and ordered his helmet to be brought. All 
wondered at this. Donning it with a smile, and fastening it securely, 
he said, quoting the old proverb, "After victory, knot the cords of 
your helmet." The hint was taken and acted upon. Neither rest nor 
negligence was allowed. 

The Castle of Hikone, on Lake Biwa, was immediately invested and 
captured. Ozaka was entered in great triumph. Fushimi and Kioto 
were held; Choshiu and Satsuma yielded. Konishi and Ikeda were 
decapitated on the execution-ground in Kioto. The final and speedy 
result was that all Japan submitted to the hero who, after victory, had 
knotted the cords of his helmet. 




WE have traced the rise and fall of no fewer than six families that 
held governing power in their persons or in reality. These were in 
succession the Sugawara, \Fujiwara, Taira, Minamoto, Hojo, and Ashi- 
kaga. The last half of the sixteenth century witnessed the rise, not 
of great families, but of individuals, the mark of whose genius and en- 
ergy is stamped upon Japanese history. These three individuals were 
Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and lyeyasu. Who and what were they ? 

Nobunaga was one of many clan-leaders who, by genius and dar- 
ing, rose above the crowd, and planned to bring all the others in sub- 
jection to himself, that he might rule them in the mikado's name. 
From having been called Baka Dono (Lord Fool) by his enemies, he 
rose to be Nai Dai Jin, and swayed power equal to a shogun, but he 
never received that name or honor ; for not being a Minamoto, he was 
ineligible. But for this inviolable precedent, Nobunaga might have be- 
come Sei-i Tai Shogun, and founded a family line as proud and pow- 
erful as that of the Tokugawas of later time. 

Who was Hideyoshi? This question was often asked, in his own 
time, by men who felt only too keenly what he was. This man, who 
manufactured his own ancestry on paper, was a parvenu from the 
peasant class, who, from grooming his master's horses in the stable, 
continued his master's work, as shogun, in the field, and, trampling 
on all precedent, amazed the Fujiwara peers by getting the office of 

Who was lyeyasu ? Neither of his two predecessors had Minamoto 
blood. lyeyasu, though at first an obscure captain under Nobunaga, 
was of true Genji stock. The blood of mikados, and of the great 
conquerors of Eastern Japan, was in his veins. He was destined to 
eclipse even the splendor of his forefathers. He was eligible, by right 
of descent, to become Sei-i Tai Shogun, or chief of all the daimios. 

The family of Tokugawa took its name from a place and river in 
Shimotsuke, near Ashikaga and Nitta which are geographical as 


well as personal names claimed descent from the mikado Seiwa 
through the Minamoto Yoshiiy6, thence through that of Nitta Yoshi- 
sada. Tokugawa Shiro, the father of Iy6yasu, lived in the village of 
Matsudaira, in Mikawa. lyeyasu always signed the documents sent 
to foreigners, Minamoto no lyeyastt. 

As it is the custom in Japan, as in Europe, to name families after 
places, the name of this obscure village, Matsudaira, was also taken as 
a family name by nearly all vassals, who held their lands by direct 
grant from Iy6yasti. In 1867, no fewer than fifty-four daimios were 
holding the name Matsudaira. The title of the daimid in whose capi- 
tal the writer lived in 1871, was Matsudaira Echizen no Kami 

Crest of the Tokugawa Family. 

The Tokugawa crest was a circle inclosing three leaves of the awoi 
(a species of mallow, found in Central Japan) joined at the tips, the 
stalks touching the circle. This gilded trefoil gleamed on the Govern- 
ment buildings and property of the shogun, and on the official docu- 
ments, boats, robes, flags, and tombs. On Kaempfer's and Hildreth's 
books there is printed under it the misleading legend, " Insignia Im- 
peratoris Japonici." The trefoil flag fluttered in the breeze when 
Commodore Perry made his treaty under its shadow. To this day 
many foreigners suppose it to be the national flag of Japan. It was 
simply the family crest of the chief daimio in Japan. 

The imperial court, yearning for peace, and finding in lyeyastt the 
person to keep the empire in order, command universal obedience, and 



satisfy the blood requirements of precedent to the office, created him 
Sei-i Tai Shogun, and it was left to Minamoto Tokugawa lyeyasu to 
achieve the perfection of duarchy and Japanese feudalism. 

Let us see how he arranged the chess-board of the empire. There 
were his twelve children, a number of powerful princes of large landed 
possessions whom he had not conquered, but conciliated ; the lesser 
daimios, who had joined him in his career ; his own retainers of every 
grade ; and a vast and miscellaneous array of petty feudal superiors, 
having grants of land and retinues of from three to one hundred fol- 
lowers. The long hereditary occupation of certain lands had given 
the holders a right which even lyeyasu could not dispute. Out of 
such complexity and chaos, how was such a motley array of proud 
and turbulent men to be reduced to discipline and obedience ? Upon 
such a palimpsest, how was an accurate map to be drawn, or a durable 
legible record to be written? lyeyasu had force, resources, and pa- 
tience. He was master of the arts of conciliation and of letting alone. 
He could wait for time to do its work. He would give men the op- 
portunity of being conquered by their own good sense. 

Of lyeyasti's twelve children, three daughters married the daimios 
of Mimasaka, Sagami, and Hida. Of his nine sons, Nobuyasu died 
before his father became shogun. Hideyasu, his second son, had been 
adopted by the taiko, but a son was born to the latter. lyeyasu then 
gave his son the province of Echizen. Hence the Echizen clansmen, 
as relatives of the shogunal family, were ever their stanchest sup- 
porters, even until the cannon fired at Fushimi in 1868. Their crest 
was the same trefoil as that of their suzerain. When Hideyasu was 
enfeoffed with Echizen, many prominent men and heads of old families, 
supposing that he would, of course, succeed his father in office, followed 
him to his domain, and lived there. Hence in Fukui, the capital of 
Echizen, in which I lived during the year 1871, 1 became acquainted 
with the descendants of many proud families, whose ancestors had 
nursed a profound disappointment for over two centuries ; for lyeyasu 
chose his third son, Hidetada, who had married a daughter of the 
taiko, to succeed him in the shogunate. 

Tadayashi, fifth son of lyeyasu, whose title was Matsudaira Satsuma 
no Kami, died young. At his death five of his retainers disemboweled 
themselves, that they might follow their young master into the happy 
land. This is said to be the last instance of the ancient custom of 
jun-shi (dying with the master), such as we have noticed in a former 
chapter. During the early and medieval centuries occur authentic in- 


stances of such immolation, or the more horrible test of loyalty in the 
burial of living retainers to their necks in the earth, with only the head 
above ground, who were left to starve slowly to death. Burying a man 
alive under the foundations of a castle about to be built or in the pier 
of a new bridge, was a similar instance of lingering superstitions. 

In the Bu Kan (" Mirror of the Military Families of Japan "), a com- 
plete list of the " Yedo nobility," or clans, no record is given of lye- 
yasu's sixth and ninth male children. On his three last sons were 
bestowed the richest fiefs in the empire, excepting those of Satsuma, 
Kaga, Mutsu, Higo, and a few others all-powerful daimios, whose 
lands lyeyasu could not touch, and whose allegiance was only secured 
by a policy of conciliation. These three sons were invested with the 
principalities of Owari, Kii, and Mito. They founded three families, 
who were called Gosanke (the three illustrious families), and from 
these, in case of failure of heirs in the direct line, the shogun was 
to be chosen. The assessed revenue of these families were 610,500, 
555,000, and 350,000 koku of rice, respectively. They were held in 
great respect, and wielded immense influence. Their yashikis in Yedo 
were among the largest, and placed in the most conspicuous and com- 
manding sites of the city. At the tombs of the shoguns at Shiba and 
Uyeno, the bronze memorial lanterns presented in honor of the de- 
ceased ruler are pre-eminent above all others for their size and beauty. 

In the course of history down to 1868, it resulted that the first sev- 
en_ah^guns_were_dsc_endants of lyeyasu in the line of direct heirs.* 
From the eighth, and thence^ downward to the sixteenth, or next to the 
last, the shoguns were all really of the blood of Kii. The Owari fam- 
ily was never represented on the seat of lyeyasu. It was generally 
believed, and is popularly stated, that as the first Prince of Mito had 


1. ly^yasQ 1603-1604 

2. Hi<tetada 1605-1633 

3. ly&nitsu 1633-1649 

4. ly^tsuna 1650-1680 

5. Tsunayoshi 1681-1708 

6. ly^nobu 1709-1713 

7. lyStsugu 1713-1716 

8. Yoshimun(... ,. 1717-1744 

9. Iy6shig< 1745-1763 

10. ly^haru 1763-1786 

11. Iy<nori 1787-1837 

12. lydyoshi 1838-1853 

13. Iy<sada* 1853-1858) 

14. Iy<mochi 1858-1866 [ 

15. Noriyoshit 1866-1868' 

* First shogun ever styled Tai-knn (" Tycoon ") in a treaty document. The last three 
shoguus were styled Tai-knn by themselves and foreigners. 
t Keiki, or Hitotsubashi, the last Sei-i Tai Shogun, still living (1376) at Shidzuoka, in Su- 


married the daughter of an enemy of lyeyasu, the Mito family could 
not furnish an heir to the shogunate. In 1867, however, as we shall 
see, Keiki, a son of Mito, but adopted into the Hitotsubashi family, be- 
came the thirty-ninth and last Sei-i Tai Shogun of Japan, the fifteenth 
and last of Tokugawa, and the fourth and last " Tycoon " of Japan. 

Next to the Gosanke ranked the Kokushiu (koku, province ; shiu, 
ruler) daimios, the powerful leaders whom lyeyasu defeated, or won 
over to obedience, but never tamed or conquered. He treated them 
rather as equals less fortunate in the game of war than himself. Some 
of them were direct descendants of the Kokushiu appointed by Yori- 
tomo, but most were merely successful military adventurers like lye- 
yasu himself. Of these, Kaga was the wealthiest. He ruled over 
Kaga, Noto, and Etchiu, his chief city and castle being at Kanezawa. 
His income was 1,027,000 koku. The family name was Maeda. 
There were three cadet families ranking as Tozama, two with incomes 
of 100,000, the other of 10,000 koku. The Maeda crest consisted of 
five circles, around ten short rays representing sword-punctures. The 
Shimadzu family of Satsuma ruled over Satsuma, Ozumi, Hiuga, and 
the Liu Kiu Islands revenue, 710,000 koku; chief city, Kagoshima. 
There was one cadet of the house of Shimadzu, with a revenue of 
27,000 koku. The crest was a white cross* within a circle. 

The Datte family ruled over the old northern division of Hondo, 
called Mutsu; capital, Sendai; revenue, 325,000 koku. There were 
three cadet families, two having 30,000 koku ; and one, Uwajima, in 
lyo, 100,000. Their crest was two sparrows within a circle of bamboo 
and leaves. 

The Hosokawa family ruled Higo ; income 540,000 : the chief city 
is Kumamoto, in which is one of the finest castles in Japan, built by 
Kato Kiy omasa. Of three cadets whose united incomes were 81,300 
koku, two had cities in Higo, and one in Hitachi ; crest, eight disks 
around a central smaller disk. 

The Kuroda family ruled Chikuzen ; revenue, 520,000 ; chief city 
Fukuoka ; crest, a black disk. One cadet in Kadzusa had 30,000 
koku ; crest, a slice of cucumber. Another in Chikuzen ; revenue, 
50,000 ; crest, Wistaria flowers. 

* This cruciform figure of the Greek pattern puzzled Xavier, who suspected 
theology in it. It has been a perpetual mare's-nest to the many would-be anti- 
quarians, who burn to immortalize themselves by unearthing Christian relics in 
Japan. It is a standard subject of dissertation by new-comers, who help to give 
a show of truth to the platitude of the ports, that " the longer one lives in Japan, 
the less he knows about it." 


The Asano family ruled Aki; chief city, Hiroshima; revenue, 
426,000 ; one cadet. 

The Mori family ruled Choshiu ; chief city, Hagi ; revenue, 369,000. 
Of three cadet families, two were in Nagato, one was in Suwo. Their 
united incomes, 100,000 koku ; crest, a kind of water-plant. 

The above are a few specimens from the thirty-six families outside 
of the Tokugawa, and the subject (fudai) clans, who, though not of 
the shogunal family, took the name of Matsudaira. There were, in 
1862, two hundred and sixty-seven feudal families, and as many dai- 
mios of various rank, income, and landed possessions. Japan was thus 
divided into petty fragments, without real nationality, and utterly un- 
prepared to bear the shock of contact with foreigners. 

The Tozama [outside (of the shogunal family) nobility] were cadet 
families of the Kokushiu, or the smaller landed lords, who held heredi- 
tary possessions, and who sided with lyeyasu in his rise to power. 
There were, in 1862, ninety whose assessed revenue ranged from ten 
to one hundred thousand koku each. 

The Fudai (literally, successive generations) were the generals, cap- 
tains, and retainers, both civil and military, on whom lyeyasu be- 
stowed land as rewards. They were the direct vassals of the Toku- 
gawa family. The shogun could order any of them to exchange their 
fiefs, or could increase or curtail their revenues at will. They were to 
the shogun as the old " Six Guards " of Kioto, or household troops of 
the mediaeval mikadoate. There were, in 1862, one hundred and fif- 
teen of this class, with lands assessed at from ten to one hundred 
thousand koku. It was only the fudai, or lower-grade daimios, who 
could hold office under the Yedo bakufu, and one became regent, as 
we shall see. 

When once firmly seated on the throne, lyeyasu found himself 
master of almost all Japan. His greatest care was to make such a 
disposal of his lands as to strike a balance of power, and to insure 
harmony among the host of territorial nobility, who already held or 
were about to be given lands. It must not be forgotten that lydyastt 
and his successors were, both in theory and reality, vassals of the em- 
peror, though they assumed the protection of the imperial person. 
Neither the shogun nor the daimios were acknowledged at Kioto as 
nobles of the empire. The lowest kuge was above the shogun in 
rank. The shogun could obtain his appointment only from the mi- 
kado. He was simply the most powerful among the daimios, who 
had won that pre-eminence by the sword, and who, by wealth and 


power, and a skillfully wrought plan of division of land among the 
other daimios, was able to rule for over two and a half centuries. 
Theoretically, he was primus inter pares ; in actuality, he was supreme 
over inferiors. The mikado was left with merely nominal power, de- 
pendent upon the Yedo treasury for revenue and protection, but he 
was still the fountain of honor and preferment, and, with his court, 
formed what was the lawful, and, in the last analysis, the only true 
power. There was formed at Yedo the de facto, actual administrative 
government of the empire. With the imperial family, court, and no- 
bles, lyeyasu had nothing to do except as vassal and guardian. He 
simply undertook to settle the position and grade the power of the 
territorial nobles, and rule them by the strong hand of military force. 
Nevertheless, real titles were bestowed only by the emperor ; and an 
honor granted, however empty of actual power, from the Son of 
Heaven in Kioto was considered immeasurably superior to any gift 
which the awe-compelling chief daimio in Yedo could bestow. The 
possession of rank and official title is the ruling passion of a Japanese. 
The richest daimios, not content with their power and revenue, spent 
vast sums of money, and used every influence at the Kioto court, to 
win titles, once, indeed, the exponent of a reality that existed, but, 
since the creation of the duarchy and the decay of the mikado's ac- 
tual power, as absurdly empty as those of the mediatized princes of 
Germany, and having no more connection with the duties implied 
than the title of Pontifex Maximus has with those of Chief Bridge- 
builder in Rome. 

The head of the proud Shimadzii family, with his vast provinces 
of Satsuma, Hiuga, Ozumi, and the Liu Kiu Islands, cared as much 
for the pompous vacuity of Shuri no daibu (" Chief of the Office of 
Ecclesiastical Carpenters ") as to be styled Lord of Satsuma. 

It is in the geographical distribution of his feudal vassals that the 
genius of lyeyasu is seen. Wherever two powerful clans that still 
bore a grudge against the Tokugawa name were neighbors, he put be- 
tween them one of his own relatives or direct vassals, which served to 
prevent the two daimios from combining or intriguing. Besides dis- 
posing of his enemies so as to make them harmless, his object was 
to guard the capital, Kioto, so that aspiring leaders could never again 
seize the person of the mikado, as had been repeatedly done in times 
past. He thus removed a chronic element of disorder. 

Echizen commands Kioto from the north ; it was given to his eldest 
son. Omi guards it from the east; it was divided among his direct 


vassals, while Owari and Kii were assigned to his sons. His fudai 
vassals, or " household troops," were also ranged on the west, while 
to the south-west was Ozaka, a city in the government domain, ruled 
by his own officials. Thus the capital was completely walled in by 
friends of Tokugawa, and isolated from their enemies. 

Mori, once the lord of ten provinces, and the enemy of Tokugawa, 
was put away into the extreme south-west of Hondo, all his territories 
except Nagato (Choshiu) being taken from him, and given to Toku- 
gawa's direct vassals. Opposite to Nagato were Kokura and Chikuzen, 
enemies of Nagato. We shall see the significance of this when we 
treat of events leading to the Restoration (1853-1868). Shikoku 
was properly divided, so as to secure a preponderance of Tokugawa's 
most loyal vassals. Kiushiu was the weakest part of the system ; yet 
even here Satsuma was last and farthest away, and Higo, his feudal 
rival and enemy, was put next, and the most skillful disposition possi- 
ble made of the vassals and friends of Tokugawa. 

In the daimioates succession to their lands was hereditary, but not 
always to the oldest son, since the custom of adoption was very preva- 
lent, and all the rights of a son were conferred on the adopted one. 
Often the adopted child was no relation of the ruler. Sickly infants 
were often made to adopt a son, to succeed to the inheritance and keep 
up the succession. One of the most curious sights on occasions of 
important gatherings of samurai, was to see babies and little boys 
dressed in men's clothes, as " heads of families," sustaining the dignity 
of representing the family in the clan. I saw such a sight in 1871. 

One great difference between the Japanese system and that of en- 
tails in Europe lay in this, that the estate granted to each daimio 
could not be added to, or diminished, either by marriage, or by pur- 
chase, or by might, except by express permission and grant from the 
shogun, the superior of all. 

Next to the daimios ranked the hatamoto, or flag-supporters (Aata, 
flag ; moto, root, under), who were vassals of the shogun his special 
dependence in war time having less than ten thousand koku reve- 
nue. Each had from three to thirty retainers in his train. They 
were, in most cases, of good family, descendants of noted warriors. 
They numbered eighty thousand in various parts of the empire, but 
the majority lived in Yedo. They formed the great body of military 
and civil officials. The gokenin, many of the descendants of lyeya- 
su's private soldiers, were inferior in wealth and rank to the hatamoto, 
but with them formed the hereditary personal following of the slid- 


gun, and constituted the Tokugawa clan proper, whose united reve- 
nues amounted to nearly nine million koku. The shogun, or chief 
daimio of the empire, has thus unapproachable military resources, fol- 
lowing, and revenue, and could overawe court and emperor above, 
princes and vassals beneath. 

All included within the above classes and their military retainers 
were samurai, receiving hereditary incomes of rice from the Govern- 
ment. They were privileged to wear two swords, to be exempt from 
taxes. They may be styled the military-literati of the country. To the 
great bulk of these samurai were given simply their daily portion of 
rice ; to others, rations of rice for from two to five persons. Some of 
them received small offices or positions, to which land or other sources 
of income were attached. The samurai's ideas of honor forbade him 
to do any work or engage in any business. His only duty was to keep 
perfunctory watch at the castle or his lord's house, walk in his lord's 
retinue, or on stated occasions appear in ceremonial dress. His life 
was one of idleness and ease ; and, as may be imagined, the long cent- 
uries of peace served only to develop the dangerous character of this 
large class of armed idlers. Some, indeed, were studious, or engaged 
with zeal in martial exercises, or became teachers ; but the majority 
spent their life in eating, smoking, and lounging in brothels and tea- 
houses, or led a wild life of crime in one of the great cities. When 
too deeply in debt, or having committed a crime, they left their homes 
and the service of their masters, and roamed at large. Such men were 
called ronins, or " wave-men." Usually they were villains, ready for 
any deed of blood, the reserve mercenaries from which every conspir- 
ator could recruit a squad. Occasionally, the ronin was a virtuous cit- 
izen, who had left the service of his lord for an honorable purpose. 

Ill fared it with the merchants. They were considered so low in 
the social scale that they had no right in any way to oppose or to 
remonstrate with the samurai. Among the latter were many noble 
examples of chivalry, men who were ever ready to assist the oppress- 
ed and redress their wrongs, often becoming knights-errant for the ben- 
efit of the wronged orphan and the widow, made so by a murderer's 
hand. But among the hatamoto and gokenin, especially among the 
victors of Sekigahara, cruelties and acts of violence were not only fre- 
quent and outrageous, but winked at by the Government officials. 
These blackmailers, in need of funds for a spree, would extort money 
under various pretexts, or none at all, from helpless tradesmen ; or 
their servants would sally out to a tea-house, and, having eaten or 


drunk their fill, would leave without paying, swaggering, drunk, and 
singing between their tipsy hiccoughs. Remonstrances from the 
landlord would be met with threats of violence, and it was no rare 
thing for them, in their drunken fury, to slash off his head. Yet 
these same non-producers and genteel loafers were intensely sensitive 
on many points of honor, and would be ready at any moment to die 
for their master. The possession of swords, and the arrogance bred 
of their superiority as a privileged class, acted continually as a temp- 
tation to brawls and murder. 

Edinburgh, in the old days of the clans, is perhaps the best illustra- 
tion of Yedo during the Tokugawa times. Certain localities in Yedo 
at night would not suffer by a comparison with the mining regions 
of California during the first opening of the diggings, when to " eat " 
a man, or to kill an Indian before breakfast, was a feather in the cap 
of men who lived with revolvers constantly in their belts. As there 
were always men in the gulches of whom it was a standing prophecy 
that they would " die with their boots on," so there was many a man 
in every city of Japan of whom it would be a nine days' wonder 
should he die with his head on. Of such men it was said that their 
death would be inujini (in a dog's place). 

Yet the merchant and farmer were not left utterly helpless. The 
Otokodate were gallant and noble fellows, not of the samurai class, 
but their bitter enemies. The swash-bucklers often met their match 
in these men, who took upon themselves to redress the grievances of 
the unarmed classes. The Otokodate were bound together into a 
sort of guild to help each other in sickness, to succor each other in 
peril, to scrupulously tell the truth and keep their promises, and never 
to be guilty of meanness or cowardice. They lived in various parts 
of Japan, though the most famous dwelt in Yedo. They were the 
champions of the people, who loved and applauded them. Many a 
bitter conflict took place between them and the overbearing samurai, 
especially the " white-hilts." The story of their gallant deeds forms 
the staple of many a popular story, read with delight by the common 

Below the samurai, or gentry, the three great classes were the farm- 
ers, artisans, and merchants. These were the common people. Be- 
neath them were the etas, who were skinners, tanners, leather-dressers, 
grave-diggers, or those who in any way handled raw -hide or buried 
animals. They were the pariahs, or social outcasts, of Japan. They 
were not allowed to enter a house, or to eat or drink, sit or cook at 


the same fire with other persons. These people were said by some to 
be descendants of Corean prisoners ; by others, to have been original- 
ly the people who killed animals for feeding the imperial falcons. As 
Buddhism prohibited the eating of animals as food, the eta were left 
out of the pale of society. The hinin (not human) were the lowest 
class of beggars, the squatters on waste lands, who built huts along the 
road, and existed by soliciting alms. They also attended to the execu- 
tion of criminals and the disposal of their corpses. In general, they 
were filthy and disgusting, in their rags and dirt. 

There were thus, according to one division, eight classes of society : 
1st, the kuge, Kioto or court nobility; 2d, the daimios, Yedo or ter- 
ritorial nobles ; 3d, the buke, or hatamoto, or samurai of lower rank 
than that of daimio and priest ; 4th, landed proprietors without title, 
and farmers, called hiyakusho ; 5th, artisans, carpenters, etc., called 
shokonin ; 6th, merchants, shop-keepers, and traders, called akindo ; 
7th, actors, prostitutes, genteel beggars, etc. ; 8th, tanners, skinners, 
hinin, and eta. 

Another division is that into four classes: 1st, military and official 
samurai; 2d, agricultural farmer; 3d, laboring artisan; 4th, 
trading merchant. Below the level of humanity were the eta and 

This was the constitution of society in Japan during the rule of 
the Tokugawa until 1868. 

lyeyasu, in 1600 and the years following, employed an army of 
300,000 laborers in Yedo, in enlarging the castle, digging moats and 
canals, grading streets, filling marshes, and erecting buildings. His 
fleets of junks brought granite from Hiogo for the citadel and gate 
buttresses, and the river -boats the dark stone for the walls of the en- 
ceinte. His faith in the future of the city was shown in his ordering 
an immense outer ditch to be dug, which far more than completely 
encircled both castle and city, and gates and towers to be built, when 
as yet there was no wall connecting, or dwelling-houses within them, 
and city people sauntered out into the country to see and laugh at 
them. According to tradition, the great founder declared that walls 
would be built, and the city extend far beyond them. The prediction 
was verified ; for it is probable that within fifty years, as we know 
from old maps of Yedo, the land east of the river was built upon, and 
the city had spread to within two -thirds of its present proportions, 
and before the year 1700 had a population of over 500,000 souls. 
Yedo never did have, as the Hollanders guessed, and as our old text- 


books, in stereotyped phrase, told us, 2,500,000 souls. It is probable 
that, in 1857, when Mr. Townsend Harris, the American envoy, first 
entered it, it had as many as 1,000,000. In 1872, by official census, 
the population of Tokio, including that of the villages around it and 
under the municipal jurisdiction, was 925,000; of the city proper, 
790,000 permanent residents, to which should be added nearly 100,000 
floating population. 

Outside of Yedo, the strength of the great unifier was spent on the 
public roads and highways, especially the Tokaido, or road skirting 
the Eastern Sea, which begins at Kioto and ends at Tokio. He ar- 
ranged fifty -three stations (skiki, relays, or post -stations), at which 
were hotels, pack-horses, baggage - coolies, and palanquin - bearers. A 
regular code of regulations to govern the movements of the daimios 
and nobles when traveling the etiquette to be observed, the scale of 
prices to be charged was duly arranged, and continued in force until 
1868. The roads, especially the mountain-passes, bridges, and ferries, 
were improved, and one ri (measure of two and two -fifth miles) hill- 
ocks to mark the distances set up. The regulations required that the 
main roads should be thirty -six feet wide, and be planted with pine- 
trees along their length. Cross-roads should have a width of eighteen 
feet ; foot - paths, six ; and of by - paths through the fields, three feet. 
At the ferry-landing on either bank of a river there was to be an open 
space of about three hundred and sixty feet. Various other regula- 
tions, pertaining to minute details of life, sumptuary laws, and feudal 
regulations, were promulgated, and gradually came into force through- 
out the empire. 

To defend the Kuanto, and strengthen his position as military ruler 
of the empire, he built or improved the nine castles of Mito, Utsuno- 
miya, Takasaki, Odawara, and five others in the Kuanto. At Sumpu, 
Ozaka, and Nijo, in Kioto, were also fine castles, and to their command 
officers were assigned. All these, and many other enterprises, required 
a vast outlay of money. The revenue of the empire amounted to near- 
ly 30,000,000 koku (165,000,000 bushels) of rice. Of this, nearly 
9,000,000 koku were retained as the revenue of the Tokugawas. The 
mines were government property ; and at this time the gold of Sado 
was discovered, which furnished Iy6yasu with the sinews of war and 
peace. This island may be said to be a mass of auriferous quartz, and 
has ever since been the natural treasure-house of Japan. 

lyeyasu had now the opportunity to prove himself a legislator, as 
well as a warrior. He began by granting amnesty to all who would 


accept it. He wished the past forgotten. He regretted that so much 
blood had been spilled. He entered upon a policy of conciliation that 
rapidly won to his side all the neutral and nearly all the hostile clans. 
There were some who were still too proud or sullen to submit or ac- 
cept pardon. These were left quietly alone, the great unifier waiting 
for the healing hand of time. He felt sure of his present power, and 
set himself diligently to work during the remainder of his life to con- 
solidate and strengthen that power so that it would last for centuries. 

lyeyasu was created Sei-i Tai Shogun in 1603. Only twice during 
his life-time was peace interrupted. The persecution of the Christians 
was one instance, and the brief campaign against Hideyori, the son 
of the taiko, was the second. Around this young man had gather- 
ed most of the malcontents of the empire. lyeyasu found or sought 
a ground of quarrel against him, and on the 3d of June, 1615, at- 
tacked the Castle of Ozaka, which was set on fire. A bloody battle, 
the last fought on the soil for two hundred and fifty-three years, re- 
sulted in the triumph of lyeyasu, and the disappearance of Hideyori 
and his mother, who were probably consumed in the flames. His 
tomb, however, is said to be in Kagoshima. It is most probably a 

The greatest of the Tokugawas spent the last years of his life at 
Sumpu (Shidzuoka), engaged in erasing the scars of war, securing the 
triumphs of peace, perfecting his plans for fixing in stability his sys- 
tem of government, and in collecting books and manuscripts. He be- 
queathed his " Legacy," or code of laws (see Appendix), to his chief 
retainers, and advised his sons to govern in the spirit of kindness. 
He died on the 8th of March, 1616. His remains were deposited tem- 
porarily at Kuno Zan, a few miles from Snmpu, on the side of a love- 
ly mountain overlooking the sea, where the solemnity of the forest 
monarchs and the grandeur of sea and sky are blended together. 
Acting upon the dying wish of his father, Hidetada had caused to be 
erected at Nikko Zan, one hundred miles north of Yedo, a gorgeous 
shrine and mausoleum. The spot chosen was on the slope of a hill, 
on which, eight centuries before, the saintly bonze Shodo, following 
Kobo Daishi's theology, had declared the ancient Shinto deity of the 
mountain to be a manifestation of Buddha to Japan, and named him 
the Gongen of Nikko. Here Nature has glorified herself in snow- 
ranges of mighty mountains, of which glorious Nantaizan reigns king, 
his feet laved by the blue splendors of the Lake Chiuzenji, on which 
his mighty form is mirrored. Nikko means sunny splendor; and 


through Japanese poetry and impassioned rhetoric ever sparkle the 
glories of the morning's mirror in Chiuzenji, and the golden floods of 
light that bathe Nantaizan. The water-fall of Kiri Take (falling mist), 
over seven hundred feet high; the lake's outlet; the foaming river, 
grassy green in its velocity; the colossal forests and inspiring scen- 
ery, made it the fit resting-place of the greatest character in Japanese 

In 1617, his remains were removed from Kuno, and in solemn pag- 
eantry moved to Nikko, where the imperial envoy, vicar of the mikado, 
court nobles from Kioto, many of his old lords and captains, daimios, 
and the shogun Hidetada, awaited the arrival of the august ashes. 
The corpse was laid in its gorgeous tomb, before which the vicar of 
majesty presented the gohei, significant of the apotheosis of the mighty 
warrior, deified by the mikado as the divine vice-regent of the gods of 
heaven and earth, under the title Sho ichi i To Sho Dai Gongen, or 
" Noble of the first Degree of the first Rank, Great Light of the East, 
Great Incarnation of Buddha." During three days, a choir of Bud- 
dhist priests, in their full canonical robes, intoned the Hokke sacred 
classic ten thousand times. It was ordained that ever afterward th'3 
chief priest of Nikko should be a prince of the imperial blood, under 
the title of Rinnoji no miya. 

Of Hidetada, the successor of lyeyasu, there is little to record. The 
chief business of his life seems to have been to follow out the policy 
of his father, execute his plans, consolidate the central power, establish 
good government throughout the empire, and beautify, strengthen, and 
adorn Yedo. 

lyemitsu, the grandson of lyeyasu, is acknowledged to have been 
the ablest ruler of all the Tokugawas after the founder, whose system 
he brought to perfection. In 1623, he went to Kioto to do homage 
to the mikado, who invested him with the title of Sei-i Tai Shogun. 
By this time many of the leaders and captains who had fought under 
lyeyasu, or those who most respected him for his prowess, were dead 
or superannuated, and had been succeeded by their sons, who, as 
though fated to follow historical precedent, failed to possess the vigor 
of their fathers, their associations being those of peace, luxury, and 
the effeminacy which follows war. 

lyemitsu was a martinet as well as a statesman. He proposed that 
all the daimios should visit and reside in Yedo during half the year. 
Being at first treated as guests, the shogun coming out to meet them 
in the suburbs, they swore allegiance to his rules, sealing their signa- 



tares, according to custom, with blood drawn from the third finger of 
the right hand. Gradually, however, these rules became more and 
more restrictive, until the honorable position degenerated into a con- 
dition tantamount to mere vassalage. Their wives and children were 
kept as hostages in Yedo, and the rendition of certain tokens of re- 
spect, almost equivalent to homage to the shogun, became imperative. 
During his rule the Christian insurrection and massacre at Shimabara 
took place. The Dutch were confined to Deshima. Yedo was vastly 

improved. Aqueducts, still 
in excellent use, were laid, to 
supply the city with water. 
To guard against the ev- 
er-threatening enemy, fife, 
watch-towers, or lookouts, 
such as are to be seen in 
every city, were erected in 
great numbers. Bells are 
hung at the top and a code 

--** I *"^ 31 \ ^Na! ^ S ^g na ^ s an( l a prescribed 

' * J ^ ^~ ' number of taps give the lo- 
cality and progress of the 
conflagration. Mints were 
established, coins struck, 
weights and measures fixed ; 
the system of official espion- 
age, checks, and counter- 
checks established; a gen- 
eral survey of the empire 
executed ; maps of the vari- 
Pire-lookonts in Yedo. (Height shown by a kite OUS provinces and plans of 
flown by a boy in the street.) ^ daimi5s > castleg were 

made, and their pedigrees made out and published ; the councils called 
Hiojo-sho (Discussion and Decision), and Wakadoshi (Assembly of 
Elders), established, and Corean'envoys received. 

The height of pride and ambition which lyemitsu had already 
reached is seen in the fact that, in a letter of reply from the bakufu 
to Corea, the shogun is referred to as Tai Kun (" Tycoon "), a title 
never conferred by the mikado on any one, nor had lyemitsu any le- 
gal right to it. It was assumed in a sense honorary or meaningless to 
any Japanese, unless highly jealous of the mikado's sovereignty, and 


was intended to overawe the " barbarian " Coreans. It is best explain- 
able in the light of the Virgilian phrase, magna pars fui, or the less 
dignified " Big Indian I." 

The building of the fine temples of Toyeizan, at Uyeno, in Yedo, 
and at Nikko, were completed in lyemitsii's time, he making five jour- 
neys thither. He died in 1649, after a prosperous rule of twenty-six 
years, and was buried with his grandfather at Nikko. 

The successors of lyeyasu, the shoguns of the Tokugawa dynasty, 
fourteen in all, were, with one exception, buried alternately in the 
cemeteries of Zozoji and Toyeizan, in the city districts of Shiba and 
Uy6no. These twin necropolises of the illustrious departed were the 
chief glories of Yedo, which was emphatically the city of the Toku- 
gawas. The remains of six of them lie in Uyeno, and six in Shiba, 
while two are at Nikko. 

During the summer of 1872, in company with an American friend 
and three of my brightest students, I made a journey to Nikko, and 
for nearly a week reveled in its inspiring scenery and solemn asso- 
ciations. During my three years' residence in Tokio, I visited these 
twin sacred places many times, spending a half -day at a visit. No 
one has described these places better than Mr. Mitford, in his " Tales 
of Old Japan." He says : " It is very difficult to do justice to their 
beauty in words. I have the memory before me of a place green in 
winter, pleasant and cool in the hottest summer, of peaceful cloisters, 
of the fragrance of incense, of the subdued chant of richly robed 
priests, and the music of bells of exquisite designs, harmonious color- 
ing, and rich gilding. The hum of the vast city outside is unheard here, 
lyeyasu himself, in the mountains of Nikko, has no quieter resting-place 
than his descendants in the heart of the city over which he ruled." 

Passing through an immense red portal on the north side of Shiba, 
we enter the precincts of the sacred place through a long, wide ave- 
nue, lined by overarching firs, and rendered solemnly beautiful by 
their shade. A runner is usually on hand to conduct visitors to the 
gate, inside of which a priest is waiting. We enter a pebbled court- 
yard, in which are ranged over two hundred large stone lanterns. 
These are the gifts of the fudai daimios. Each lantern is inscribed 
with the name of the donor, the posthumous title of the deceased sho- 
gun, the name of the temple at Shiba, and the province in which it is 
situated, the date of the offering, and a legend, which states that it is 
reverently offered. On the following page is the reading on one, and 
will serve as a specimen : 





[Posthumous title of the sixth Shogun lyenobu] 









Passing through a handsomely gilt and carved gate-way, we enter 
another court -yard, the sides of which are gorgeously adorned. 
Within the area are bronze lanterns, the gift of the Kokushiu daimios. 
The six very large gilded lanterns standing by themselves are from 
the Go San Ke, the three princely families, in which the succession to 
the office of shogun was vested. To the left is a monolith lavatory ; 
and to the right is a splendid building, used as a depository of sacred 
utensils, such as bells, gongs, lanterns, etc., used only on matsuri, or 
festival days. Passing through another handsome gate which eclipses 
the last in richness of design, we enter a roofed gallery somewhat like 
a series of cloisters. In front is the shrine, a magnificent specimen of 
native architecture. 

Sitting down upon the lacquered steps, we remove our shoes, while 
the shaven bonze swings open the gilt doors, and reveals a transept 
and nave, laid with finest white matting, and ceiled in squares wrought 
with elaborate art. The walls of the transept are arabesqued, and the 
panels carved with birds and flowers the fauna of Japan, both real 
and mythical and the various" objects in Japanese sacred and legend- 
ary art. In each panel the subjects are different, and richly repay 

* The Tidmio, or posthumous titles of thirteen Tokugawa shoguns, are : 1, Great 
Light of the East ; 2, Chief Virtue ; 3, Illustrious Enterprise ; 4, Strict Holding ; 
5, Constant System ; 6, Literary Brightness ; 7, Upholder of the Plan ; 8, Up- 
holder of Virtue ; 9, Profound Faith ; 10, Steady Brightness ; 11, Learned Rever- 
ence ; 12, Learned Carefulness ; 13, Rigid Virtue. 


study. The glory of motion, the passionate life of the corolla, and 
the perfection of nature's colors have been here reproduced in inani- 
mate wood by the artist. At the extremity of the nave is a short 
flight of steps. Two massive gilt doors swing asunder at the touch of 
priestly hands, and across the threshold we behold an apocalypse of 
splendor. Behind the sacred offertories, on carved and lacquered 
tables, are three reliquaries rising to the ceiling, and by their outer 
covering simulating masses of solid gold. Inside are treasured the 
tablets and posthumous titles of the august deceased. Descending 
from this sanctum into the transept again, we examine the canonical 
rolls, bell, book, and candles, drums and musical instruments, with 
which the Buddhist rites are celebrated and the liturgies read. Don- 
ning our shoes, we pass up a stone court fragrant with blossoming 
flowers, and shaded with rare and costly trees of every variety, form, 
and height, but overshadowed by the towering firs. We ascend a 
flight of steps, and arc in another pebbled and stone-laid court, in 
which stands a smaller building, called a haiden, formerly used by the 
living shogun as a place of meditation and prayer when making his 
annual visit to the tombs of his forefathers. Beyond it is still another 
flight of stone steps, and in the inclosure is a plain monumental urn, 
"This is the simple ending to so much magnificence" the solemn 
application of the gorgeous sermon. 

The visitor, on entering the cemetery by the small gate to the right 
of the temple, and a few feet distant from the great belfry, will see 
three tombs side by side. The first to the left is that of lyenobu, 
the sixth of the line, who ruled in 1709-1713. The urn and gates of 
the tomb are of bronze. The tomb in the centre is that of lyeyoshi, 
the twelfth, who ruled 1838-1854. The third, to the right, is that of 
lyemochi, the fourteenth shogun, who ruled 1858-1866, and was the 
last of his line who died in power. 

From the tomb of lyemochi, facing the east and looking to the 
left, we may see the tombs of lyetsugu (l 7 13-1 7 16), the seventh, and 
of lyeshige (1745-1762), the ninth, shogun. Descending the steps 
and reaching the next stone platform, we may, by looking down to 
the left, see the tombs of a shogun's wife and two of his children. 
The court -yards and shrines leading to the tombs of lyetsugu and 
lyeshige are fully as handsome as the others. Hidetada (1606- 
1623), the second prince of the line, is buried a few hundred yards 
south of the other tombs. The place is easily found. Passing down 
the main avenue, and turning to the right, we have a walk of a fur- 


long or two up a hill, on the top of which, surrounded by cameiiia- 
trees, and within a heavy stone palisade, is a handsome octagon edi- 
fice of the same material. A mausoleum of gold lacquer rests up- 
right on a pedestal. The tomb, a very costly one, is in a state of 
perfect preservation. On one side of the path is a curiously carved 
stone, representing Buddha on his death-bed. The great temple of 
Zozoji belonged to the Jodo sect, within whose pale the Tokugawas 
lived and died.* 

* This splendid temple and belfry was reduced to ashes on the night of Decem- 
ber 31st, 1874, by a fanatic incendiary. It had been sequestrated by the Imperial 
Government, and converted into a Shinto miya. On a perfectly calm midnight, 
during a heavy fall of snow, the sparks and the flakes mingled together with in- 
describable effect. The new year was ushered in by a perpendicular flood of 
dazzling green flame poured up to an immense height. The background of tall 
cryptomeria trees heightened the grandeur of the fiery picture. As the volatil- 
ized gases of the various metals in the impure copper sheathing of the roof and 
sides glowed and sparkled, and streaked the iridescent mass of flame, it afforded 
a spectacle only to be likened to a near observation of the sun, or a view through 
a colossal spectroscope. The great bell, whose casting had been superintended 
by Iye"mitsu, and by him presented to the temple, had for two hundred years 
been the solemn monitor, inviting the people to their devotions. Its liquid 
notes could be heard, it is said, at Odawara. On the night of the fire the old 
bell-ringer leaped to his post, and, in place of the usual solemn monotone, gave 
the double stroke of alarm, until the heat had changed one side of the bell to 
white, the note deepening in tone, until, in red heat, the ponderous link softened 
and bent, dropping its burden to the earth. It is to be greatly regretted that 
the once sacred grounds of Shiba groves are now desecrated and common. " Sic 
transit gloria Tokugawarum." 




IT is the popular impression in the United States and in Europe 
that the immediate cause of the fall of the shogun's Government, the 
restoration of the mikado to supreme power, and the abolition of the 
dual and feudal systems was the presence of foreigners on the soil of 
Japan. No one who has lived in Dai Nippon, and made himself fa- 
miliar with the currents of thought among the natives, or who has 
studied the history of the country, can share this opinion. The for- 
eigners and their ideas were the occasion, not the cause, of the de- 
struction of the dual system of government, which would certainly 
have resulted from the operation of causes already at work before the 
foreigners arrived. Their presence served merely to hasten what was 
already inevitable. 

I purpose in this chapter to expose the true causes of the recent 
marvelous changes in Japan. These comprise a three-fold political 
revolution within, a profound alteration in the national policy toward 
foreigners, and the inauguration of social reforms which lead us to 
hope that Japan has rejected the Asiatic, and adopted the European, 
ideal of civilization. I shall attempt to prove that these causes oper- 
ated mainly from within, not f r6m without ; from impulse, not from 
impact ; and that they were largely intellectual. 

The history of Japan, as manifested in the current of events since 
the advent of Commodore Perry, has its sources in a number of dis- 
tinct movements, some logically connected, others totally distinct from 
the rest. These were intended to effect: 1. The overthrow of the 
shogun, and his reduction to his proper level as a vassal ; 2. The res- 
toration of the true emperor to supreme power; 3. The abolition of 
the feudal system and a return to the ancient imperial regime; 4. 
The abolition of Buddhism, and the establishment of pure Shinto as 

* Reprinted and enlarged from the North American Review of April, 1875. 


the national faith and the engine of government. These four move- 
ments were historically and logically connected. The fifth was the 
expulsion of the foreign "barbarians," and the dictatorial isolation 
of Japan from the rest of the world ; the sixth, the abandonment of 
this design, the adoption of Western civilization, and the entrance of 
Japan into the comity of nations. The origin of the first and second 
movements must be referred to a time distant from the present by a 
century and a half ; the third and fourth, to a period within the past 
century ; the fifth and sixth, to an impulse developed mainly within 
the memory of young men now living. 

There existed, long before the advent of Perry, definite conceptions 
of the objects to be accomplished. These lay in the minds of earnest 
thinkers, to whom life under the dual system was a perpetual winter 
of discontent, like snow upon the hills. In due season the spring 
would have come that was to make the flood. The presence of Perry 
in the Bay of Yedo was like an untimely thaw, or a hot south-wind in 
February. The snow melted, the streams gathered. Like houses built 
upon the sand, the shogunate and the feudal system were swept away. 
They were already too rotten and worm-eaten to have the great fall 
which the simile might suggest. The mikado and the ancient ark of 
state floated into power. Buddhism stood as upon a rock, damaged, 
but firm. The foreigner, moored to the pile-driven foundations of his 
treaties, held his own more firmly than before. The flood in full mo- 
mentum was swollen by a new stream and deflected into a new chan- 
nel. Abandoning the attempt to defy the gravitation of events, to 
run up the hill of a past forever sloping backward into the impossi- 
ble, the flood found surcease with the rivers of nations that make the 
ocean of human solidarity. 

The chief motors of these movements were intellectual. Neither 
the impact of foreign cannon-balls at Kagoshima or Shimonoseki (see 
Appendix), nor the heavy and unjust indemnities demanded from the 
Japanese, wrought of themselves the events of the last ten years, as 
foreigners so complacently believe. An English writer resident in 
Japan concludes his translation of the " Legacy of lyeyasu " by refer- 
ring to it as the " constitution under which this country [Japan] was 
governed until the time within the recollection of all, when it gave 
way to the irresistible momentum of a higher civilization." The 
translator evidently means that the fall of the dual form of govern- 
ment and the feudal system was the direct result of contact with the 
higher civilization of Europe and America. English writers on Japan 


seem to imply that the bombardment of Kagoshima was the para- 
mount cause that impelled Japan to adopt the foreign civilization. 

Much, also, has been said and written in praise of Japan for her 
abolition of the feudal system by a " stroke of the pen," and thus 
"achieving in one day what it required Europe centuries to accom- 
plish." An outsider, whose knowledge of Dai Nippon is derived from 
our old text-books and cyclopedias, or from non-resident book-makers, 
may be so far dazed as to imagine the Japanese demi-gods in state- 
craft, even as the American newspapers make them all princes. To 
the writer, who has lived in a daimio's capital before, during, and 
after the abolition of feudalism, the comparison suggests the reason 
why the Irish recruit cut off the leg instead of the head of his enemy. 
Long before its abolition, Japanese feudalism was ready for its grave. 
The overthrow of the sh5gun left it a headless trunk. To cut off its 
legs and bury it was easy, and in reality this was what the mikado's 
Government did, as I shall show. 

As it would be vain to attempt to comprehend our own late civil 
war by beginning at Sumter, or even with the Compromise measures 
of 1851 ; so one will be misled who, in attempting to understand the 
Japan of to-day, looks only at events since Perry's time. The roots 
of the momentous growth of 1868 are to be found within the past 

Yoritomo's acts were in reality the culmination of a long series of 
usurpations, begun by the taira. Under the plea of military necessity, 
he had become an arch-usurper. In the period 1184-1199 A.D. began 
that dual system of government which has been the political puzzle 
of the world ; which neither Kaempfer, nor the Deshima Hollanders, 
nor the Portuguese Jesuits seem ever to have fully understood ; which 
has filled our cyclopedias and school-books with the misleading non- 
sense about " two emperors," one " spiritual " and the other " secular ;" 
which led the astute Perry and his successors to make treaties with an 
underling ; which gave rise to a vast mass of what is now very amus- 
ing reading, embracing much prophecy, fiction, and lamentations, in 
the Diplomatic Correspondence from Japan ; and which keeps alive 
the drivel and solecism heard among a few Rip Van Winkles in Ja- 
pan, who talk, both in Japanese and English, about the " return of the 
tycoon to power." There never was but one emperor in Japan ; the 
shogun was a military usurper, and the bombastic title "tycoon" a 
diplomatic fraud. 

WP have seen how the policy of Yoritomo was continued by the 


Hojo, the Ashikaga, and the Tokugawas, who consummated the per- 
manent separation of the throne and the camp. The custom of the 
shoguns going to Kioto to do the mikado homage fell into desuetude 
after the visit of lyemitsu. The iron-handed rule of the great com- 
mander at Yedo was felt all over the empire, and after centuries of 
war it had perfect peace. Learning flourished, the arts prospered. 
So perfect was the political machinery of the bakufu that the power 
of the mikado seemed but a shadow, though in reality it was vastly 
greater than foreigners ever imagined. 

The dwellings of the two rulers at Yedo and Kioto, of the domi- 
neering general and the overawed emperor, were typical of their posi- 
tions. The mikado dwelt, unguarded, in a mansion surrounded by 
gardens inclosed within a plaster wall, in a city which was the chosen 
centre of nobles of simple life, highest rank, and purest blood, men of 
letters, students, and priests, and noted for its classic history and 
sacred associations, monasteries, gardens, and people of courtly man- 
ners and gentle life. The shogun lived in a fortified and garrisoned 
castle, overlooking an upstart city full of arsenals, vassal princes, and 
military retainers. The feelings of the people found truest expression 
in the maxim, " The shogun all men fear ; the mikado all men love." 

The successors of lyeyasu, carrying out his policy, having extermi- 
nated the "corrupt sect" (Christianity), swept all foreigners out of 
the empire, and bolting its sea-barred gates, proceeded to devise and 
execute measures to eliminate all disturbing causes, and fix in eternal 
stability the peaceful conditions which were the fruit of tlie toils of 
his arduous life. They deliberately attempted to prevent Chronos 
from devouring his children. 

According to their scheme, the intellect of the nation was to be 
bounded by the Great Wall of the Chinese classics, while to the hie- 
rarchy of Buddhism one of the most potent engines ever devised for 
crushing and keeping crashed the intellect of the Asiatic masses was 
given the ample encouragement of government example and patron- 
age. An embargo was laid upon all foreign ideas. Edicts commanded 
the destruction of all boats built upon a foreign model, and forbade 
the building of vessels of any size or shape superior to that of a junk. 
Death was the penalty of believing in Christianity, of traveling abroad, 
of studying foreign languages, of introducing foreign customs. Be- 
fore the august train of the shogun men must seal their upper win- 
dows, and bow their faces to the earth. Even to his tea-jars and cook- 
ing-pots the populace must do obeisance with face in the dust. To 


study ancient history, which might expose the origin of the sh6gun- 
ate, was forbidden to the vulgar, and discouraged among the higher. 
A rigid censorship dried the life-blood of many a master spirit, while 
the manufacture and concoction of false and garbled histories which 
extolled the reigning dynasty, or glorified the dual system of govern- 
ment as the best and only one for Japan, were encouraged. There 
were not wanting poets, fawning flatterers, and even historians, who in 
their effusions styled the august usurper the 0-gimi (Chinese, tai-kun, 
or "tycoon"), a term meaning great prince, or exalted ruler, and 
properly applied only to the mikado. The blunders, cruelties, and op- 
pressions of the Tokugawa rulers were, in popular fiction and drama, 
removed from the present, and depicted in plots laid in the time of 
the Ashikagas, and the true names changed. One of the most perfect 
systems of espiouage and repression ever devised was elaborated to 
fetter all men in helpless subjection to the great usurper. An incred- 
ibly large army of spies was kept in the pay of the Government. 
Within such a hedge, the Government itself being a colossal fraud, 
rapidly grew and flourished public and private habits of lying, and de- 
ceit in all its forms, until the love of a lie apparently for its own sake 
became a national habit. When foreigners arrived in the Land of the 
Gods during the decade following Perry's arrival, they concluded that 
the lying which was everywhere persistently carried on in the Govern- 
ment and by private persons with such marvelous facility and unique 
originality was a primal characteristic of Japanese human nature. The 
necessity of hoodwinking the prying eyes of the foreigners, lest they 
should discover the fountain of authority, and the true relation of the 
shogun, gave rise to the use of official deception that seemed as varie- 
gated as a kaleidoscope and as regular as the laws of nature. The ma- 
jority of the daimios who had received lands and titles from the sho- 
gun believed their allegiance to be forever due to him, instead of to 
the mikado, a belief stigmatized as rank treason by the students of 
history. As for the common people, the great mass of them forgot, 
or never knew, that the emperor had ever held power or governed his 
people ; and being officially taught to believe him to be a divine per- 
sonage, supposed he had lived thus from time immemorial. Knowing 
only of the troubled war times before the " great and good " Tokuga- 
was, they believed devoutly in the infallibility, paternal benevolence, 
and divine right of the Yedo rulers. 

The line of shoguns, founded by lyeyasu, was the last that held, or 
ever will hold, the military power in Japan. To them the Japanese 


people owe the blessing of nearly two hundred and seventy years of 
peace. Under their firm rule the dual form of government seemed 
fixed on a basis unchangeable, and the feudal system in eternal stabili- 
ty. There did not exist, nor was it possible there should arise, causes 
such as undermined the feudalism of Europe. The Church, the Em- 
pire, free cities, industrialism these were all absent. The eight classes 
of the people were kept contented and happy. A fertile soil and ge- 
nial clime gave food in unstinted profusion, and thus was removed a 
cause which is a chronic source of insurrection in portions of China. 
As there was no commerce, there was no vast wealth to be accumu- 
lated, nor could the mind of the merchant expand to a limit danger- 
ous to despotism by fertilizing contact with foreigners. All learning 
and education, properly so called, were confined to the samurai, to 
whom also belonged the sword and privilege. The perfection of the 
governmental machinery at Yedo kept, as was the design, the daimios 
poor and at jealous variance with each other, and rendered it impossi- 
ble for them to combine their power. No two of them ever were al- 
lowed to meet in private or to visit each other without spies. The 
vast army of eighty thousand retainers of the Tokugawas, backed by 
the following of some of the richest clans, such as Owari, Kii, Mito, 
and Echizen (see Appendix), who were near relatives of the shogunal 
family, together with the vast resources in income and accumulation, 
made it appear, as many believed, that the overthrow of the Tokuga- 
was, or the bakuf u, or the feudal system, was a moral impossibility. 

Yet all these fell to ruin in the space of a few months ! The baku- 
fu is now a shadow of the past. The Tokugawas, once princes and 
the gentry of the land, whose hands never touched other tools than 
pen and sword, now live in obscurity or poverty, and by thousands 
keep soul and body together by picking tea, making paper, or digging 
the mud of rice-fields they once owned, like the laborers they once 
despised. Their ancestral tombs at Ktmo, Shiba, Uyeno, and Nikko, 
once the most sacred and magnificently adorned of Japanese places 
of honor, are now dilapidating in unarrested neglect, dishonor, and de- 
cay. The feudal system, at the touch of a few daring parvenus, crum- 
bled to dust like the long undisturbed tenants of catacombs when sud- 
denly moved or exposed to the light of day. Two hundred and fifty 
princes, resigning lands, retainers, and incomes, retired to private life in 
Tokio at the bidding of their former servants, acting in the name of 
the mikado. They are now quietly waiting to die. They are the 
" dead facts stranded on the shores of the oblivious years." 


What were the causes of these three distinct results? When be- 
gan the first gathering of the waters which burst into flood in 1868, 
sweeping away the landmarks of centuries, floating the old ship of 
state into power, impelling it, manned with new men and new ma- 
chinery, into the stream of modern thought, as though Noah's ark had 
been equipped with engines, steam, and propellers? To understand 
the movement, we must know the currents of thought, and the men 
who produced the ideas. 

There were formerly many classes of people in Japan, but only 
three of these were students and thinkers. The first comprised the 
court nobles, the literati of Kioto ; the second, the priests, who brought 
into existence that mass of Japanese Buddhistic literature, and origi- 
nated and developed those phases of the India cultus which have 
made Japanese Buddhism a distinct product of thought and life 
among the manifold developments of the once most widely professed 
religion in the world. This intellectual activity and ecclesiastical 
growth culminated in the sixteenth century. Since that time Japa- 
nese thought has been led by the samurai, among whom we may in- 
clude the priests of Shinto. The modern secular intellectual activity 
of Japan attained its highest point during the latter part of the last 
and the first quarter of the present century. Even as far back as the 
seventeenth century, the students of ancient history began to under- 
stand clearly the true nature of the duarchy, and to see that the sho- 
gunate could exist only while the people were kept in ignorance. 
From that time Buddhism began to lose its hold on the intellect of 
the samurai and lay educated classes. The revival of Chinese learn- 
ing, especially the Confucian and Mencian politico - ethics, followed. 
Buddhism was almost completely supplanted as a moral force. The 
invasion of Corea was one of the causes tributary to this result, which 
was greatly stimulated by the presence of a number of refugee schol- 
ars, who had fled from China on the overthrow of the Ming dynasty. 
The secondary influence of the fall of Peking and the accession of 
the Tartars became a parallel to the fall of Constantinople and the 
dispersion of the Greek scholars through Europe in the thirteenth 
century. The relation between the sovereign (mikado) and vassal 
(shogun) had become so nearly mythical, that most Japanese fathers 
could not satisfy the innocent and eager questions of their children 
as to who was sovereign of Japan. The study of the Confucian moral 
scheme of " The Five Relations " (i. ., sovereign and minister, parent 
and child, husband and wife, elder and younger brother, and between 


friends), in which the first and great requirement is the obedience of 
the vassal to his lord, aroused an incoercible desire among the samurai 
to restore and define that relation so long obscured. This spirit in- 
creased with every blunder of the bakuf u ; and when the revolution 
opened, " the war-cry that led the imperial party to victory was Daigi 
meibun, or the 'King and the subject;' whereby it was understood 
that the distinction between them must be restored, and the shogun 
should be reduced to the proper relation of subject or servant to his 

The province of Mito was especially noted for the number, ability, 
and activity of its scholars. In it dwelt the learned Chinese refugees 
as guests of the daimio. The classic, which has had so powerful an 
influence in forming the public opinion which now upholds the mi- 
kado's throne, is the product of the native scholars, who submitted 
their text for correction to the Chinese scholars. The second Prince 
of Mito, who was born 1622, and died 1700, is to be considered, as 
was first pointed out by Mr. Ernest Satow, as " the real author of the 
movement which culminated in the revolution of 1868." Assembling 
around him a host of scholars from all parts of Japan, he began the 
composition of the Dai Nikon Shi, or " History of Japan." It is writ- 
ten in the purest Chinese, which is to Japan what Latin is to learning 
in Europe, and fills two hundred and forty-three volumes, or matter 
about equal to Mr. Bancroft's "History of the United States." It 
was finished in 1715, and immediately became a classic. Though dil- 
igently studied, it remained in manuscript, copied from hand to hand 
by eager students, until 151, when the wide demand for it induced 
its publication in print. The tendency of this book, as of most of the 
many publications of Mito,f was to direct the minds of the people to 
the mikado as the true and only source of authority, and to point out 
the historical fact that the shogun was a military usurper. Mito, be- 
ing a near relative of the house of Tokugawa, was allowed greater lib- 
erty in stating his views than could have been granted to any other 
person. The work begun by Mito was followed up by the famous 
scholar, Rai Sanyo, who in 1827, after twenty years of continuous la- 
bor, completed his Nihon Guai Shi (" External History of Japan "), in 
which he gives the history of each of the military families, Taira, Mi- 
namoto, Hojo, Ashikaga, etc., who held the governing power from the 

* Arinori Mori : Introduction to " Education in Japan," p. 26. 
t See article Japan, Literature of, in the "American Cyclopaedia." 


period of the decadence of the mikados. This work had to pass the 
ordeal of the censorate at Yedo, and some of the volumes were re- 
peatedly purged by the censors before they were allowed to be pub- 
lished. The unmistakable animus of this great book is to show that 
the mikado is the only true ruler, in whom is the fountain of power, 
and to whom the allegiance of every Japanese is due, and that even 
the Tokugawas were not free from the guilt of usurpation. 

The long peace of two centuries gave earnest patriots time to think. 
Though the great body of the people, both the governing and the gov- 
erned classes, enervated by prolonged prosperity and absence of dan- 
ger, cared for none of these things, the serious students burned to see 
the mikado again restored to his ancient authority. This motive alone 
would have caused revolution in due time. They felt that Japan had 
retrograded, that the military arts had sunk into neglect, that the war 
spirit slumbered. Yet on all sides the " greedy foreigners " were ey- 
ing the Holy Country. Already the ocean, once a wall, was a high- 
way for wheeled vessels. The settlement of California and the Pacif- 
ic coast made the restless Americans their neighbors on the east, with 
only a wide steam ferry between. American whalers cruised in Japa- 
nese waters, and hunted whales in sight of the native coasters. Amer- 
ican ships repeatedly visited their harbors to restore a very few of the 
human waifs which for centuries in unintermitted stream had drifted 
up the Kuro Shiwo and across the Pacific, giving her shores wrecks 
and spoils, her tribes men, her tongues words, and perhaps the civiliza- 
tion which in Peru and Mexico awoke the wonder and tempted the 
cupidity of the Spanish marauders (see Appendix). Defying all prec- 
edent, and trampling on Japanese pride and isolation, the American 
captains refused to do as the Hollanders, and go to Nagasaki, and ap- 
peared even in the Bay of Yedo. The long scarfs of coal-smoke were 
becoming daily matters of familiar ugliness and prognostics of doom. 
The steam-whistle heard by the junk sailors as potent as the rams' 
horns of old had already thrown down their walls of exclusion. 
The "black ships" of the "barbarians" passing Matsumae in one 
year numbered eighty-six. Russia, on the north, was descending upon 
Saghalin ; the English, French, Dutch, and Americans were pressing 
their claims for trade and commerce. The bakufu was idle, making 
few or no preparations to resist the fierce barbarians. Far-sighted 
men saw that, in presence of foreigners, a collision between the two 
centres of government, Yedo and Kioto, would be immediate as it was 
inevitable. When it should come, in the nature of the case, the sho- 


gunate must fall. The samurai would adhere to the mikado's side, 
and the destruction of the feudal system would follow as a logical ne- 
cessity. It was the time of luxury, carousal, and the stupor of licen- 
tious carnival with most of the daimios, but with others of gloomy 

Another current of thought was flowing in the direction of a re- 
stored mikadoate. It may be called the revival of the study of pure 
Shinto, and, in examining the causes of the recent revolution, can not 
be overlooked. The introduction of Buddhism and Chinese philoso- 
phy greatly modified or " corrupted " the ancient faith. A school of 
modern writers has attempted to purge modern Shinto, and present 
it in its original form. 

According to this religion, Japan is pre-eminently the Land of the 
Gods, and the mikado is their divine representative and vicegerent. 
Hence the duty of all Japanese implicitly to obey him. During the 
long reign of the shoguns, and of Buddhism, which they favored and 
professed, few, indeed, knew what pure Shinto was. Its Bible is the 
Kojiki, compiled A.D. 712. Several other works, such as the Nihongi, 
Manyoshiu, are nearly as old and as valuable in the eyes of Shinto 
scholars as the Kojiki. They are written in ancient Japanese, and can 
be read only by special students of the archaic form of the language. 
The developments of a taste for the study of ancient native literature 
and for that of history were nearly synchronous. The neglect of 
pure Japanese learning for that of Chinese had been almost universal, 
until Keichiu, Kada, and other scholars revived its critical study. The 
bakufu discouraged all such investigation, while the mikado and court 
at Kioto lent it all their aid, both moral and, as it is said, pecuniary. 
Mabuchi (1697-1769), Motoori (1730-1801), and Hirata (1776-1843), 
each successively the pupil of the other, are the greatest lights of pure 
Shinto ; and their writings, which are devoted to cosmogony, ancient 
history, and language, the true position of the mikado and the Shinto 
cultus, exerted a lively influence at Kioto, in Mito, in Echizen, Satsuma, 
and in many other provinces, where a political party was already form- 
ing, with the intention of accomplishing the abolition of the bakufu 
and a return to the Osei era. The necessary result of the study of 
Shinto was an increase of reverence for the mikado. Buddhism, Chi- 
nese influence, Confucianism, despotism, usurpation, and the bakufu 
were, in the eyes of a Shintoist, all one and the same. Shinto, the 
ancient true religion, all which a patriot could desire, good govern- 
ment, national purity, the Golden Age, and a life best explained by the 


conception of the "millennium" among Christians, were synonymous 
with the mikado and his return to power. The arguments of the 
Shintoists helped to swell the tide that came to its flood at Fushimi. 
Throughout and after the war of 1868-1870, there were no more bit- 
ter partisans who urged to the last extremes of logic and severity the 
issues of the war and the " reformation." It was the study of the lit- 
erature produced by the Shinto scholars and the historical writers that 
formed the public opinion that finally overthrew the shogunate, the 
bakufu, and feudalism. 

Long before foreigners arrived, the seeds of revolution were above 
the soil. The old Prince of Mito, a worthy descendant of his illustri- 
ous ancestor, tired of preaching Shinto and of persuading the shogun 
to hand over his authority to the mikado, resolved, in 1840, to take 
up arms and to try the wager of battle. To provide the sinews of 
war, he seized the Buddhist monasteries, and melted down their enor- 
mous bronze bells and cast them into cannon. By prompt measures 
the bakufu suppressed his preparations for war, and imprisoned him 
for twelve years, releasing him only in the excitement consequent upon 
the arrival of Perry. 

Meanwhile Satsuma, Choshiu, and other Southern clans were mak- 
ing extensive military preparations, not merely to be in readiness to 
drive out the possible foreign invaders, but, as we now know, and as 
events proved, to reduce the shogun to his proper level as one of many 
of the mikado's vassals. The ancestors of these most powerful clans 
had of old held equal rank and power with lyeyasu, until the fortunes 
of war turned against them. They had been overcome by force, or 
had sullenly surrendered in face of overwhelming odds. Their adhe- 
sion to the Tokugawas was but nominal, and only the strong pressure 
of superior power was able to wring from them a haughty semblance 
of obedience. They chafed perpetually under the rule of one who 
was in reality a vassal like themselves. On more than one occasion 
they openly defied and ignored the bakufu's orders ; and the purpose, 
scarcely kept secret, of the Satsuma and Choshiu clans was to destroy 
the shogunate, and acknowledge no authority but that of the mikado. 

From the Southern clans rose, finally, the voice in council, the 
secret plot, the coup d'etat, and the arms in the field that wrought 
the purpose for which Mito labored. Yet they would never have been 
successful, had not a public sentiment existed to support them, which 
the historical writers had already created by their writings. The 
scholars could never have gratified their heart's wish, had not the 


sword and pen, brain and hand both equally mighty helped each 

Notably pre-eminent among the Southern daimios, in personal char- 
acteristics, abilities, energy, and far-sightedness, was the Prince of 
Satsuma. Next to Kaga, he was the wealthiest of all the daimios 
(see Appendix). Had he lived, he would doubtless have led the revo- 
lutionary movement of 1868. Besides giving encouragement to all 
students of the ancient literature and history, he was most active in 
developing the material resources of his province, and in perfecting 
the military organization, so that, when the time should be ripe for 
the onslaught on the bakufu, he might have ready for the mikado the 
military provision to make his government a complete success. To 
carry out his plans, he encouraged the study of the Dutch and English 
languages, and thus learned the modern art of war and scientific im- 
provement. He established cannon - foundries and mills on foreign 
principles. He saw that something more was needed. Young men 
must visit foreign countries, and there acquire the theory and practice 
of the arts of war and peace. The laws of the country forbade any 
subject to leave it, and the bakufu was ever on the alert to catch run- 
aways. Later on, however, by a clever artifice, a number of the 
brightest young men, about twenty-seven in number, got away in one 
vessel to Europe, and, despite the surveillance of the Yedo officials, 
others followed to England and the United States. Among these 
young men were some who are now high officials of the Japanese 

The renown of this prince extended all over the empire, and num- 
bers of young men from all parts of the country flocked to be his 
pupils or students. Kagoshima, his capital, became a centre of busy 
manual industry and intellectual activity. Keeping pace with the in- 
tense energy of mind and hand was the growing sentiment that the 
days of the bakufu were numbered, that its fall was certain, and that 
the only fountain of authority was the mikado. The Satsuma samurai 
and students all looked to the prince as the man for the coming crisis, 
when, to the inexpressible grief of all, he sickened and died, in 1858. 
He was succeeded in actual power by Shimadzvi Saburo, his younger 
brother. No master ever left more worthy pupils ; and those most trust- 
ed and trusting, among many others, were Saigo, Okubo, and Katsu. The 
mention of these names calls up to a native the most stirring memories 
of the war. Saigo became the leader of the imperial army. Okubo, 
the implacable enemy of the bakufu, was the master-spirit in council, 


and the power behind the throne which urged the movement to its 
logical consequences. At this moment, the annihilator of the Saga 
rebellion, crowned with diplomatic laurels, and the conqueror of a 
peace at Peking, he stands leader of the Cabinet, and the foremost man 
in Japan. Katsu advised the bakufu not to fight Choshiu, and his 
master to resign his position, thus saving Yedo from destruction. The 
lesser men of note, pupils of Satsuma, who now hold positions of trust, 
or who have become disinterested Cincinnati, to show their patriotism, 
are too many to mention. 

Familiarity with the facts above exposed will enable one to under- 
stand the rush of events that followed the arrival of the American en- 
voy. The bakufu was apparently at the acme of power. The shogun 
lyeyoshi at Yedo was faineant. The mikado at Kioto, Komei Tenno, 
father of the present emperor, was a man who understood well his 
true position, hated the bakufu as a nest of robbers, and all foreigners 
as unclean beasts. Within the empire, all was ripe for revolution. 
Beneath the portentous calm, those who would listen could hear the 
rumble of the political earthquake. From without came puffs of news, 
like atmospheric pulses portending a cyclone. On that 7th day of 
July, 1853, the natural sea and sky wearing perfect calm, the magnifi- 
cent fleet of the " barbarian " ships sailed up the Bay of Yedo. It was 
the outer edge of the typhoon. The Susquehanna was leading the 
squadrons of seventeen nations. 

There was one spectator upon the bluffs at Yokohama who was per- 
suaded in his own mind that the men who could build such ships as 
those ; who were so gentle, kind, patient, firm ; having force, yet using 
it not ; demanding to be treated as equals, and in return dealing with 
Japanese as with equals, could not be barbarians. If they were, it 
were better for the Japanese to become barbarous. That man was 
Katsu, now the Secretary of the Japanese Navy. 

The barbarian envoy was a strange creature. He was told to leave 
the Bay of Yedo and go to Nagasaki. He impolitely refused, and 
staid and surveyed, and was dignified. This was anomalous. Other 
barbarians had not acted so ; they had quietly obeyed orders. Fur- 
thermore, he brought letters and presents, all directed " To the Em- 
peror of Japan." The shogun was not emperor, but he must make 
believe to be so. It would not do to call himself the mikado's general 
only. This title awed sufficiently at home ; but would the strangers 
respect it ? A pedantic professor (" not the Prince of Dai Gaku ") in 



the Chinese college (Dai Gaku Ko) at Yedo was sent to treat with 
the barbarian Perry. A chopper of Chinese logic, and a stickler for 
exact terms, the pedant must, as in duty bound, exalt his master. He 
inserted, or at least allowed to be used in the treaties the title tai-kun, 
a purely Chinese word, which in those official documents signified that 
he was the supreme ruler of all Japan. This title had never been be- 
stowed upon the shogun by the mikado, nor had it ever been used in 
the imperial official documents. The bakufu and the pedantic pro- 
fessor, Hayashi, did not mean to lie to the true sovereign in Kioto. 
The bakufu, like a frog, whose front is white, whose back is black, 
could look both ways, and present two fronts. Seen from Kioto, the 
lie was white ; that is, " meant nothing." Looked at by those unsus- 
pecting dupes, the barbarians, it was black ; that is, " The august Sov- 
ereign of Japan," as the preamble of the Perry treaty says. Yet to the 
jealous emperor and court this white lie was, as ever white lies are, the 
blackest of lies. It created the greatest uneasiness and alarm. The 
shogun had no shadow of right to this bombastic figment of authority. 

It was a new illustration in diplomacy of ^Esop's Fable No. 26. 
The great Yedo frog puffed itself to its utmost to equal the Kioto ox, 
and it burst in the attempt. The last carcass of these batrachians in 
diplomacy was buried in Shidzuoka, a city ninety-five miles south- 
west of Tokio, in 1868. The writer visited this ancient home of the 
Tokugawas in 1872, and in a building within a mile of the actual 
presence of the last and still living " tycoon," and within shouting dis- 
tance of thousands of his ex -retainers, saw scores of the presents 
brought by Commodore Perry lying, many of them, in mildew, rust, 

or neglect. They were all labeled " Presented by the of 

the United States to the Emperor of Japan." Yet the mikado never 
saw them. The Japanese excel at a jibe, but when did they perpe- 
trate sarcasm so huge ? The mikado's government, with Pilate's irony, 
had allowed the tycoon to keep the presents, with the labels on them ! 

We may fairly infer that so consummate a diplomatist as Perry, 
had he understood the true state of affairs, would have gone with his 
fleet to Ozaka, and opened negotiations with the mikado at Kioto, in- 
stead of with his lieutenant at Yedo. Perhaps he never knew that he 
had treated with an underling. 

The immediate results of the opening of the ports to foreign com- 
merce in 1859 were the disarrangement of the prices of the necessaries 
of life, and almost universal distress consequent thereon, much sickness 
and mortality from the importation of foreign diseases, to which was 


added an exceptional succession of destructive earthquakes, typhoons, 
floods, fires, and storms. In the midst of these calamities the shogun, 
lye'sada, died. 

An heir must be chosen. His selection developed upon the tairo, 
or regent, li, a man of great ability, daring, and, as his enemies say, 
of unscrupulous villainy. li,* though socially of low rank, possessed 
almost supreme power. Ignoring the popular choice of Keik6 (the 
seventh son of the Daimio of Mito), who had been adopted by the 
house of Hitotsubashi, he chose the Prince of Kii, a boy twelve years 
of age. In answer to the indignant protests of the princes of Mito,f 
Echizen, and Owari, he shut them up in prison, and thus alienated 
from his support the near relatives of the house of Tokugawa, It 
was his deliberate intention, say his enemies, to depose the mikado, 
as the IIojo did, and set up a boy emperor again. At the same time, 
all who opposed him or the bakufu, or who, in either Kioto, Yedo, or 
elsewhere, agitated the restoration of the mikado, he impoverished, 
imprisoned, exiled, or beheaded. Among his victims were many noble 
scholars and patriots, whose fate excited universal pity.J 

* The premier, II, was the Daimio of Hikone", a castled town and fief on Lake 
Biwa, in Mino ; revenue, three hundred and fifty thousand koku. He was at the 
head of the /udai. His personal name was Nawosuke"; his title at the emperor's 
court was kamon no kami head of the bureau of the Ku Nai Sho (imperial house- 
hold) having in charge the hangings, curtains, carpets, mats, and the sweeping 
of the palace on state occasions. His rank at Kioto was Chiujo, or "general of 
the second class." In the bakufu, he was prime minister, or " tairo." He had 
a son, who was afterward educated in Brooklyn, New York. 

t It would be impossible in brief space to narrate the plots and counterplots at 
Yedo and Kioto during the period 1860-1868. As a friendly critic (in The Hifigo 
News, June 9th, 1875) has pointed out, I allow that the Prince of Mito, while 
wishing to overthrow the shogunate, evidently wished to see the restoration ac- 
complished with his son, Koike", in a post of high honor and glory. While in 
banishment, secret instructions were sent from Kioto, which ran thus: "The 
bakufu has shown great disregard of public opinion in concluding treaties with- 
out waiting for the opinion of the court, and in disgracing princes so closely al- 
lied by blood to the shogun. The mikado's rest is disturbed by the spectacle of 
such misgovernment, when the fierce barbarian is at our very door. Do you, 
therefore, assist the bakufu with your advice ; expel the barbarians ; content the 
mind of the people ; and restore tranquillity to his majesty's bosom." Kinte 
Shiriaku, p. 11, Satow's translation. This letter was afterward delivered up to 
the bakufu, shortly after which (September, 1861) the old prince died. The Mito 
clan was for many years afterward divided into two factions, the "Righteous" 
and the "Wicked." There is no proof that the Prince of Mito poisoned ly&ada, 
except the baseless guess of Sir Rutherford Alcock, which has a value at par with 
most of that writer's statements concerning Japanese history. 

I Among others was Yoshida Shoin, a samurai of Choshiu, and a student of 


The mikado being by right the supreme ruler, and the shogun 
merely a vassal, no treaty with foreigners could be binding unless 
signed by the mikado. 

The shogun or his ministers had no right whatever to sign the 
treaties. Here was a dilemma. The foreigners were pressing the 
ratification of the treaties on the bakufu, while the mikado and court 
as vigorously refused their consent. li was not a man to hesitate. As 
the native chronicler writes : " He began to think that if, in the pres- 
ence of these constant arrivals of foreigners of different nations, he 
were to wait for the Kioto people to make up their minds, some un- 
lucky accident might bring the same disasters upon Japan as China 
had already experienced. He, therefore, concluded a treaty at Kana- 
gawa, and affixed his seal to it, after which he reported the transac- 
tion to Kioto." 

This signature to the treaties without the mikado's consent stirred 
up intense indignation at Kioto and throughout the country, which 
from one end to the other now resounded with the cry, " Honor the 
mikado, and expel the barbarian." In the eyes of patriots, the regent 
was a traitor. His act gave the enemies of the bakufu a legal pretext 
of enmity, and was the signal of the regent's doom. All over the 
country thousands of patriots left their homes, declaring their inten- 

European learning. He was the man who tried to get on board Commodore 
Perry's ship at Shimoda (Perry's " Narrative," p. 485-488). He had been kept in 
prison in his clan since 1854. He wrote a pamphlet against the project of taking 
up arms against the bakufu, for which he was rewarded by the Tedo rulers with 
his liberty. After li's arbitrary actions, Toshida declared that the shogunate 
could not be saved, and must fall. When the shogun' s ministers were arresting 
patriots in Kioto, Yoshida resolved to take his life. For this plot, after detection, 
he was sent to Yedo in a cage, and beheaded. This ardent patriot, whose memo- 
ry is revered by all parties, was one of the first far-sighted men to see that Japan 
must adopt foreign civilization, or fall before foreign progress, like India. The 
national enterprises now in operation were urged by him in an able pamphlet 
written before his death. 

Another victim, a student of European literature, and a fine scholar in Dutch 
and Chinese, named Hashimoto Sanai, of Fukui, brother of my friend Dr. Hashi- 
moto, surgeon in the Japanese army, fell a martyr to his loyalty and patriotism. 
This gentleman was the instrument of arousing an enthusiasm for foreign science 
in Fukui, which ultimately resulted in the writer's appointment to Fukui. Ha- 
shimoto saw the need of opening peaceful relations with foreigners, but believed 
that it could safely be done only under the restored and unified government. 
Under a system of divided authority, he held that the ruin of Japan would re- 
sult. Had Perry treated with the mikado, foreign war might possibly have re- 
sulted, though very probably not. By treating with the counterfeit emperor in 
Yedo, civil war, foreign hostilities, impoverishment of the country, and national 
misery, prolonged for years, were inevitable. 


tion not to return to them until the mikado, restored to power, should 
sweep away the barbarians. Boiling over with patriotism, bands of 
assassins, mostly ronins, roamed the country, ready to slay foreigners, 
or the regent, and to die for the mikado. On the 23d of March, li 
was assassinated in Yedo, outside the Sakurada gate of the castle, near 
the spot where now stand the offices of the departments of War and 
Foreign Affairs, and the Gothic brick buildings of the Imperial Col- 
lege of Engineering. Then followed the slaughter of insolent foreign- 
ers, and in some cases of innocent ones, and the burning of their lega- 
tions, the chief object in nearly every case being to embroil the baku- 
fu with foreign powers, and thus hasten its fall. Some of these ama- 
teurs, who in foreign eyes were incendiaries and assassins, and in the 
native view noble patriots, are now high officials in the mikado's 

The prestige of the bakufu declined daily, and the tide of influence 
and power set in steadily toward the true capital. The custom of the 
shogun's visiting Kioto, and doing homage to the mikado, after an in- 
terval of two hundred and thirty years, was revived, which caused his 
true relation to be clearly understood even by the common people, who 
then learned for the first time the fact that the rule existed, and had 
been so long insolently ignored. The Prince of Echizen, by a special 
and unprecedented act of the bakufu, and in obedience to orders from 
the Kioto court, was made premier. By his own act, as many believe, 
though he was most probably only the willing cat's-paw of the South- 
ern daimios, he abolished the custom of the daimios' forced residence 
in Yedo. Like wild birds from an opened cage, they, with all their 
retainers, fled from the city in less than a week. Yedo's glory faded 
like a dream, and the power and greatness of the Tokugawas came to 
naught. Few of the clans obeyed any. longer the command of the 
bakufu, and gradually the hearts of the people fell away. " And so," 
says the native chronicler, " the prestige of the Tokugawa family, 
which had endured for three hundred years; which had been really 
more brilliant than Kamakura in the age of Yoritomo on a moonlight 
night when the stars are shining ; which for more than two hundred 
and seventy years had forced the daimios to come breathlessly to take 
their turn of duty in Yedo ; and which had, day and night, eighty 
thousand vassals at its beck and call, fell to ruin in the space of one 

The clans now gathered at the true miako, Kioto, which became a 
scene of gayety and bustle unknown since the days of the Taira. 



Ending their allegiance to the bakufu, they began to act either ac- 
cording to their own will, or only at the bidding of the court. They 
filled the imperial treasury with gold, and strengthened the hands of 
the Son of Heaven with their loyal devotion. Hatred of the foreign- 
er, and a desire to fill their empty coffers with the proceeds of com- 
merce, swayed the minds of many of them like the wind among reeds. 
Others wished to open the ports in their fiefs, so as to pocket the prof- 

Matendaira Yoshinaga, ex-Dairaio of Echizen, Chief Minister of State in 1862. (From a 
carte-de-visite presented by him.) 

its of foreign commerce, which the bakufu enjoyed as its monopoly. 
A war of pamphlets ensued, some writers attempting to show that the 
clans owed allegiance to the bakufu ; others condemning the idea as 
treasonable, and, having the historic facts on their side, proved the mi- 
kado to be the sole sovereign. The bakufu, acting upon the pressure 
of public opinion in Kioto, and in hopes of restoring its prestige, bent 
all its efforts to close the ports and persuade the foreigners to leave 
Japan. For this purpose they sent an embassy to Europe. To has- 


ten their steps, the rOnins now began the systematic assassination of all 
who opposed their plans, pillorying their heads in the dry bed of the 
river in front of the city. As a hint to the Tokugawa " usurpers," 
they cut off the heads of wooden images of the first three Ashikaga 
shoguns, and stuck them on poles in public. The ronins were ar- 
rested ; Choshiu espoused their side, while Aidzu, who was governor 
of the city, threw them into prison. The mikado, urged by the clam- 
orous braves, and by kuge who had never seen one of the " hairy for- 
eigners," nor dreamed of their power, issued an order for their expul- 
sion from Japan. The Choshiu men, the first to act, erected batteries 
at Shimonoseki. The bakufu, which was responsible to foreigners, 
commanded the clan to disarm. They refused, and in July, 1863, fired 
on foreign vessels. They obeyed the mikado, and disobeyed the sho- 
gun. During the next month, Kagoshima was bombarded by a Brit- 
ish squadron. 

On the 4th of September, the Choshiu cannoneers fired on a bakufu 
steamer, containing some men of the Kokura clan who were enemies 
of Choshiu, and who had given certain aid and comfort to foreign ves- 
sels, and refused to fire on the latter. The Choshiu men in Kioto be- 
sought the mikado to make a progress to Yamato, to show to the em- 
pire his intention of taking the field in person against the barbarians. 
The proposal was accepted, and the preliminaries arranged, when sud- 
denly all preparations were stopped, Choshiu became an object of 
blackest suspicion, the palace gates were doubly guarded, the city was 
thrown into violent commotion ; while the deliberations of the palace 
ended in the expulsion of Sanjo Saneyoshi (now Dai Jo Dai Jin), 
Sawa (Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1870-'7l), and five other court 
nobles, who were deprived of their rank and titles, while eighteen oth- 
ers were punished, and all retainers or members of the family of Mori 
(Choshiu) were peremptorily "forbidden to enter the capital" a 
phrase that made them outlaws. An army was levied, and the city 
put in a state of defense. 

The reason of this was, that the Choshiu men were accused of plot- 
ting to get possession of the mikado's person, in order to dictate the 
policy of the empire. The eighteen kuge and the six ringleaders were 
suspected of abetting the plot. This, and the firing on the steamer 
containing their envoys, roused the indignation of the bakufu, and the 
clans loyal to it, especially Aidzu, to the highest pitch. The men of 
Choshiu, accompanied by the seven kuge, fled, September 30th, 1863, 
to their province. 


Choshiu now became the rendezvous of deserters and ronins from 
all parts of Japan. In July of the following year, 1864, a body of 
many hundred of irresponsible men of various clans, calling themselves 
" Irregulars," arrived in Kioto from the South, to petition the mikado 
to restore Mori and the seven nobles to honor, and to drive out the 
barbarians. Aidzu and the shogun's vassals were for attacking these 
men with arms at once. The mikado, not adopting the views of the 
petitioners, returned them no answer. On July 30th, the " Irregulars" 
were increased by many hitherto calm, but now exasperated, Choshiu 
men, and encamped in battle array in the suburbs, where they were 
joined, August 15th, by two karos, and two hundred men from Choshiu, 
sent by Prince Mori to restrain his followers from violence. While 
thus patiently waiting, a notification that they were to be-punished was 
issued, August 19th, to them by the court, then under the influence of 
Aidzu, and Keiki was put in command of the army of chastisement. 

With tears and letters of sorrowful regret to their friends at court, 
the Choshiu men and the ronins, in a written manifesto vindicated the 
justness of their cause, swore vengeance against Aidzu, whose troops 
were encamped in the imperial flower-garden, and then asking pardon 
of the Son of Heaven " for making a disturbance so near the base of 
the chariot " (the throne), they accepted the wager of battle, and rushed 
to the attack. " The crisis had arrived," says the native chronicler, 
"and the spirit of murder filled and overflowed heaven and earth. 
The term choteki, which for centuries had been obsolete, now again 
came into being. Many myriads of habitations were destroyed, and 
millions of people were plunged into a fiery pit." On the 20th of 
August, 1864, at day-dawn, the battle began, the Choshiu men advan- 
cing in three divisions, numbering in all thirteen hundred men, their 
design being to attack the nine gates of the imperial palace and sur- 
round the flower-garden. The Tokugawa and Aidzu troops were 
backed by those of Echizen, Hikone, Kuwana, and others. The bat- 
tle raged furiously for two days, involving the city in a conflagration, 
which, fanned by a gale, reduced large quarters of it to a level of ashes. 
The fighting was by men in armor, equipped mostly with sword, ar- 
row, cannon, and musket: 811 streets, 27,400 houses, 18 palaces, 44 
large and 630 small yashikis, 60 Shinto shrines, 115 Buddhist temples, 
40 bridges, 400 beggar's huts, and one eta village were destroyed by 
the flames; 1216 fire-proof store-houses were knocked to pieces by 
the cannonading kept up after the battle to prevent the Choshiu men 
from hiding in them. " The capital, surrounded by a nine-fold circle 


of flowers, entirely disappeared in one morning in the smoke of the 
flames of a war fire." The homeless city populace fled to the suburbs, 
dwelling on roofless earth, pestered by the heat and clouds of mos- 
quitoes, while men in soldiers' dress played the robber without fear 
or shame. " The Blossom Capital became a scorched desert." The 
Choshiu were utterly defeated, and driven out of the city. Thirty- 
seven of them were decapitated in prison. 

The next month the bakufu begged the imperial court to deprive 
the Mori family and all its branches of their titles. Elated with suc- 
cess, an order was issued to all the clans to march to the chastisement 
of the two provinces of Nagato and Suwo. The Tokugawa intended 
thus to set an example to the wavering clans, and give proof of the 
power it still possessed. During the same month, September 5th and 
6th, 1864, Shimonoseki was bombarded by an allied fleet bearing the 
flags of four foreign nations. After great destruction of life and 
property, the generous victors demanded an " indemnity " of three 
million Mexican dollars (see Appendix). The brave clan, having de- 
fied the bakufu at Kioto, dared the prowess of the " civilized world," 
and stood to their guns at Shimonoseki till driven away by over- 
whelming numbers of balls and men, now prepared to face the com- 
bined armies of the shogunate. 

Then was revealed the result of the long previous preparation in 
the South for war. The Choshiu clansmen, united and alert, were 
lightly dressed, armed with English and American rifles, drilled in Eu- 
ropean tactics, and abundantly provided with artillery, which they 
fired rapidly and with precision. They had cast away armor, sword, 
and spear. Choshiu had long been the seat of Dutch learning, and 
translations of Dutch military works were numerously made and used 
there. Their disciplined battalions were recruited from the common 
people, not from the samurai alone, were well paid, and full of enthu- 
siasm. The bakufu had but a motley, half-hearted army, many of 
whom, when the order was given to march, straightway fell ill, having 
no stomach for the fight. Some of the most influential clans declined 
or refused outright to join the expedition, whose purpose was con- 
demned by almost all the wisest leaders, notably by Katsu, the sho- 
gun's adviser. 

A campaign of three months, in the summer of 1 866, ended in the 
utter and disgraceful defeat of the bakufu, and the triumph of Cho- 
shiu. The clans not yet in the field refused to go to the front. The 
prestige of the shogunate was now irretrievably ruined. 


The young shogun, worn out with ceaseless anxiety, died at Ozaka, 
September 19th, 1866. He had secured the mikado's consent to the 
treaties, on the condition that they should be revised, and that Hiogo 
should never be opened as a port of foreign commerce. He was suc- 
ceeded by Keiki, his former rival, who was appointed head of the To- 
kugawa family by the court October, 1866. On the 6th of January, 
1867, he was made shogun. He had repeatedly declined the position. 
He brought to it numerous private virtues, but only the firmness of a 
feather for the crisis at hand. The average Japanese lacks the stolid- 
ity and obstinacy of the Chinaman, and fickleness is supposed to be 
his chief characteristic. Keiki, as some of his once best friends say, 
was fickleness personified. If, with the help of counselors, he could 
make up his mind to one course of action, the keenest observers could 
never forecast the change liable to ensue when new advisers appeared. 
It is evident that the appointment of such a man at this crisis served 
only to precipitate the issue. His popularity at the court most prob- 
ably arose from the fact that he was opposed to the opening of Hio- 
go and Ozaka to the foreigners. 

In October, 1867, the Prince of Tosa openly urged the new shogun 
to resign ; while many able samurai, Saigo, Okubo, Goto, Kido, Hiro- 
zawa, Komatsu, backed by such men of rank as Shimadzu Saburo, 
and the ex-princes of Echizen, Uwajima, Hizen, and Tosa, urged the 
formation of the Government on the basis of the ante-shogun era pri- 
or to 1200 A.D. They formed so powerful a combination that on the 
9th of November, 1867, the vacillating Keiki, yielding to the force of 
public opinion, tendered his resignation as Sei-i Tai Shogun. 

This was a long step toward the ancient regime. Yet, as in Japan, 
whichever party or leader has possession of the mikado is master of 
the situation ; and as the Aidzu clan, the most stanchly loyal to the 
Tokugawa family, kept guard at the gates of the imperial palace, it 
was still uncertain where the actual power would reside whether in 
the Tokugawa clan, in the council of daimios, or, where it rightfully 
belonged, with the imperial court. The influential samurai of Satsu- 
ma, and Choshiu, and the princes of Tosa, Echizen, and Uwajima were 
determined not to let the question hang in suspense. Gradually, small 
parties of the soldiers of the combination assembled in the capital. 
Saigo and Okubo, Kido, Goto, and Iwdkura, were too much in earnest 
to let the supreme opportunity slip. They began to stir up the court 
to take advantage of the critical moment, the mikado Komei being 
dead, and, by a bold coup d'etat, abolish the office of shogun and the 


bakufu, and re-establish the Government on the ancient basis, with 
the young emperor at the head. 

On the 3d of January, 1868, the troops of the combination (Satsu- 
ma, Tosa, Echizen, Aki, and Owari) suddenly took possession of the 
palace gates. The court nobles hitherto surrounding the boy emper- 
or were dismissed, and only those favoring the views of the combina- 
tion were admitted to the palace. The court, thus purged, issued an 
edict in the name of the mikado, which stated that the government of 
the country was now solely in the hands of the imperial court. The 
bakufu and office of shogun were abolished. A provisional govern- 
ment, with three grades of office, was formed, and the positions were 
at once filled by men loyal to the new rulers. The family of Mori 
was rehabilitated, and the seven banished nobles were recalled. Sanjo 
and Iwakura were made assistants to the supreme administrator, Ari- 
sugawa Miya, a prince of the blood. 

The indignation of the retainers of Tokugawa knew no bounds. 
The vacillating shogun now regretted his resignation, and wished him- 
self back in power. He left Kioto with the clans still loyal to him, 
with the professed intention of calming the passions of his followers, 
but in reality of seizing Ozaka, and blocking up the communications 
of the Southerners. Shortly after, in Yedo, on the 19th of January, 
the yashikis of the Satsuma clan were stormed and burned by the 
bakufu troops. The Princes of Owari and Echizen were sent by the 
court to invite Keiki to join the new Government, and receive an ap- 
pointment to office even higher than he had held before. He prom- 
ised to do so, but no sooner were they gone than he yielded to Aidzu's 
warlike counsel to re-enter Kioto in force, drive out the " bad counsel- 
ors of the young emperor," and "try the issue with the sword." He 
was forbidden by the court to approach the city with a military fol- 
lowing. Barriers were erected across the two roads leading to the 
capital, and the Southern clansmen, numbering about two thousand, 
posted themselves behind them, with artillery. Keiki set out from 
Ozaka on the evening of the 27th of February, with the Aidzu and 
Kuwana clans in the front of his following, amounting to over ten, or, 
as some say, thirty thousand men. At Fushimi his messengers were 
refused passage through the barriers. The kuan-gun (loyal army, 
Kioto forces) fired their cannon, and the war was opened. The sho- 
gun's followers, by their last move on the political chess-board, had 
made themselves choteki. Their prestige had flown. 

The battle lasted three days. In the presence of overwhelming 



forces, the Southern samurai showed not only undaunted valor, but 
the result of previous years of military training. The battle was not 
to the strong. It was to the side of intelligence, energy, coolness, 
and valor. The shogun's army was beaten, and in wild disorder fled 
to Ozaka, the historic castle of which was burned by the loyal army. 
The chief, unrecognized, found refuge upon an American vessel, and, 
reaching Yedo on one of his own ships, sought the seclusion of his 

Keiki, the last ShOguu of Japan. (From a photograph.) 

castle. His own family retainers and most of the subject clans (fudai), 
and the daimios of Aidzu, Sendai, and others of the North and East, 
urged him to renew the fight and restore his prestige. One of his min- 
isters earnestly begged him to commit hara-kiri, urging its necessity 
to preserve the honor of the Tokugawa clan. His exhortation being 
unsuccessful, the proposer solemnly opened his own bowels. With a 
large army, arsenals, munitions of war, and fleet of ships vastly exceed- 
ing those of the mikado, his chances of success were very fair. But 


this time the vassal was loyal, the waverer wavered no more. Refus- 
ing to listen to those who advised war, abhorring the very idea of be- 
ing a choteki, he hearkened to the counsel of his two highest minis- 
ters, Katsft and Okubo Ichio, and declaring that he would never take 
up arms against his lord, the mikado, he retired to private life. The 
comparison of this man with Washington because he refused to head 
an army, and thus save the country from a long civil war, does not 
seem to be very happy, though I have heard it made. Personal- 
ly, Keiki is a highly accomplished gentleman, though ambitious and 
weak. Politically, he simply did his duty, and made discretion the 
better part of valor. It is difficult to see in him any exalted traits of 
character or evidences of genius ; to Katsu and Okubo is due the last and 
best decision of his life. Katsu, the old pupil of Satsuma and com- 
rade of Saigo, had long foreseen that the governing power must and 
ought of right to revert to the mikado, and, braving odium and assas- 
sination, he advised his master to resign. The victorious Southerners, 
led by Saigo, were in the southern suburb of Yedo, waiting to attack 
the city. To reduce a Japanese city needs but a torch, and the im- 
patient victors would have left of Yedo little but ashes had there been 
resistance. Katsu, meeting Saigo, assured him of the submissive tem- 
per of the shogun, and begged him to spare the city. It was done. 
The fanatical retainers of Keiki made the temple grounds of Uyeno 
their stronghold. On the 4th of July they were attacked and routed, 
and the magnificent temple, the pride of the city, laid in ashes. The 
theatre of war was then transferred to the highlands of Aidzu at 
Wakamatsu, and thence to Matsumae and Hakodate in Yezo. Victory 
everywhere perched upon the mikado's brocade banner. By July 1st, 
1869, all vestiges of the rebellion had ceased, and "the empire was 
grateful for universal peace." 

The mikado's party was composed of the heterogeneous elements 
which a revolution usually brings forth. Side by side with high-soul- 
ed patriots were disreputable vagrants and scalawags of every descrip- 
tion, ronins, or low, two-sworded men, jo-i, or " foreigner-haters," " port- 
closers," and Shinto priests and students. There were a few earnest 
men whose darling hope was to see a representative government estab- 
lished, while fewer yet eagerly wished Japan to adopt the civilization 
of the West, and join the brotherhood of nations. These men had 
utilized every current and eddy of opinion to forward their own views 
and achieve their own purpose. The object common to all was the 
exaltation of the mikado. The bond of union which held the major- 


ity together was a determination to expel the foreigners or to revise 
the treaties so as to expunge the odious extra-territoriality clause the 
thorn that still rankles in the side of every Japanese patriot. For 
eighteen months the energies of the jo-i t or " foreigner-haters," were 
utilized in the camp in fighting the rebellious Tokugawa retainers. 
The war over, the trials of the new Government began. The low, 
two-sworded men clamored for the fulfillment of the promise that the 
foreigners should be expelled from Japan and the ports closed. The 
Shinto officials induced the Government to persecute the native 
" Christians," demanded the abolition of Buddhism, the establishment 
of Shinto by edict, and the restoration of the Government on a purely 
theocratic basis, and echoed the cry of " Expel the barbarian." Even 
with the majority of the high officials there was no abandonment of 
the purpose to expel foreigners. They intended to do it, but the 
wisest of them knew that in their present condition they were not 
able. Hence they simply wished to bide their time, and gain strength. 
It was a matter of difficulty to keep patient thousands of swaggering 
braves whose only tools for earning bread were their swords. The 
first attention was given to reorganizing a national army, and to devel- 
oping the military resources of the empire. All this was done with 
the cherished end in view of driving out the aliens, closing the ports 
of commerce, and bringing back the days of dictatorial isolation. The 
desire for foreign civilization existed rather among the adherents of 
Tokugawa, among whom were many enlightened gentlemen, besides 
students and travelers, who had been to Europe and America, and who 
wished their country to take advantage of the inventions of the for- 
eigners. Yet many of the very men who once wished the foreigners 
expelled, the ports closed, the treaties repudiated, who were jo-i, or 
" foreigner-haters," and who considered all aliens as only a few degrees 
above the level of beasts, are now members of the mikado's Govern- 
ment, the exponents of advanced ideas, the defenders and executors 
of philo-Europeanism, or Western civilization. 

What caused the change that came over the spirit of their dreams ? 
Why do they now preach the "faith they once destroyed? "It was 
the lessons taught them at Kagoshima and Shimonoseki," say some. 
" It was the benefits they saw would arise from commerce," say others. 
" The child of the revolution was changed at nurse, and the Govern- 
ment now in power was put into its cradle by mistake or design," say 

Cannon-balls, commerce, and actual contact with foreigners doubt- 


less helped the scales to fall from their eyes, but these were helps only. 
All such means had failed in China, though tried for half a century. 
They would have failed in Japan also. It was an impulse from with- 
in that urged the Japanese to join the comity of nations. The noblest 
trait in the character of a Japanese is his willingness to change for the 
better when he discovers his wrong or inferiority. This led the leaders 
to preach the faith they once destroyed, to destroy the faith they once 

The great work of enlightening the mikado's followers was begun 
by the Japanese leaders, Okubo, Kido, Goto, all of them students, 
both of the ancient native literature and of foreign ideas. It was fin- 
ished by Japanese writers. The kuge, or court nobles, wished to ig- 
nore the existence of foreigners, drive them out of the country, or 
worry them by appointing officers of low rank in the Foreign Office, 
then an inferior sub -bureau. Okubo, Goto, and Kido promptly op- 
posed the plan, and sent a prince of the imperial blood, Higashi Kuze, 
to Hiogo, with Date, Prince of Uwajima (see Appendix), to give the 
mikado's consent to the treaties, and to invite the foreign ministers to 
an audience with the emperor in Kioto. The British and Dutch min- 
isters accepted the invitation ; the others declined. The train of the 
British envoy was assaulted by fanatic assassins, one resisting bullet, 
lance, and sabre of the English dragoons, only to lose his head by the 
sweep of the sword of Goto, who rode by the side of the foreigners, 
determined to secure their audience of the mikado. At first sight of 
the strangers, the conversion of the kuge was thorough and instan- 
taneous. They made friends with the men they once thought were 

In a memorial to the mikado, Okubo further gave expression to his 
ideas in a memorial that astounded the court and the wavering dai- 
mios, as follows : " Since the Middle Ages, our emperor has lived be- 
hind a screen, and has never trodden the earth. Nothing of what 
went on outside his screen ever penetrated his sacred ear ; the imperial 
residence was profoundly secluded, and, naturally, unlike the outer 
world. Not more than a few court nobles were allowed to approach 
the throne, a practice most opposed to the principles of heaven. Al- 
though it is the first duty of man to respect his superior, if he reveres 
that superior too highly he neglects his duty, while a breach is created 
between the sovereign and his subjects, who are unable to convey their 
wants to him. This vicious practice has been common in all ages. But 
now let pompous etiquette be done away with, and simplicity become 


our first object. Kioto is in an out-of-the-way position, and is unfit 
to be the seat of government. Let his majesty take up his abode tem- 
porarily at Ozaka, removing his capital hither, and thus cure one of 
the hundred abuses which we inherit from past ages." 

The memorial produced an immediate and lively effect upon the 
court. The young mikado, Mutsuhito, came in person to the meet- 
ings of the council of state, and before the court nobles and daimios 
took an oath, as an actual ruler, promising that " a deliberative assem- 
bly should be formed ; all measures be decided by public opinion ; the 
uncivilized customs of former times should be broken through ; and 
the impartiality and justice displayed in the workings of nature be 
adopted as a basis of action ; and that intellect and learning should be 
sought for throughout the world, in order to establish the foundations 
of the empire." This oath is the basis of the new Government. 

These promises are either the pompous bombast of a puppet or the 
pregnant utterances of a sovereign, who in magnanimity and wisdom 
aspires to lead a nation into a higher life. That such words should 
in that sublime moment fall from the lips of the chief of an Oriental 
despotism excites our sympathetic admiration. They seem a sublime 
echo of affirmation to the prophetic question of the Hebrew seer, 
" Can a nation be born at once ?" They sound like a glad harbinger 
of a new and higher national development, such as only those with the 
strongest faith in humanity believe possible to an Asiatic nation. As 
matter of fact, the words were uttered by a boy of sixteen years, who 
scarcely dreamed of the tremendous significance of the language put 
into his mouth by the high-souled parvenus who had made him em- 
peror de facto, and who were resolved to have their ideas made the 
foundations of the new Government. The result of the memorial, and 
the ceaseless activity of Okubo and his colleagues, were the ultimate 
removal of the Government to Yedo. It is not easy for a foreigner 
to comprehend the profound sensation produced throughout the em- 
pire when the mikado left Kioto to make his abode in another city. 
During a millennium, Kioto had been the capital of Dai Nippon, and 
for twenty-five centuries, according to popular belief, the mikados had 
ruled from some spot near the site of the sacred city. A band of 
fanatics, fired with the Yamato damashi, religiously opposed, but in 
vain, his journey eastward. To familiarize his people with the fact 
that Yedo was now the capital, its name was changed to Tokio, or 
Eastern Capital. 

Then was further developed the impulse to enter the path of mod- 


crn civilization. While Okubo, Kido, Goto, Iwakura, Sanjo, Itagaki, 
Oki, and the rising officials sought to purge and strengthen the po- 
litical system, the work of enlightening the people and the upstarts 
raised suddenly to power was done by Japanese writers, who for 
the first time dared, without suffering death, to tell their thoughts. 
A large measure of freedom of the press was guaranteed ; newspapers 
sprung up in the capital. Kido, one of the prime movers and leaders, 
himself established one of the most vigorous, still in existence the 
Shimbun Zasshi. The new Government acted with clemency equal to 
the standard in Christian nations, and most generously to the literary 
and scientific men among the retainers of the Tokugawas, and invited 
them to fill posts of honor under the Government. They sent none of 
the political leaders to the blood-pit, but by the gracious favor of the 
mikado these were pardoned, and the conciliation of all sections of the 
empire wisely attempted. Many of those who fought the loyal forces 
at Fushimi, Wakamatsu, and Hakodate are now the earnest advocates 
of the restoration and its logical issues. Even Enomoto is envoy of 
the court of Tokio to that of St. Petersburg. All of the defeated 
daimios were restored to rank and income. A complete and happy 
reunion of the empire was the result. Some of the scholars declined 
office until the time when even greater freedom of speech and pen was 

There w-ere men who in the old days, braving odium, and even 
death, at the hands of the bakufu, had begun the study of the English 
and Dutch languages, and to feed their minds at the Occidental fount- 
ains. They were obliged to copy their books in manuscript, so rare 
were printed copies. Later on, the bakufu, forced by necessity to have 
interpreters and men skilled in foreign arts and sciences, chose these 
students, and sent them abroad to study. When the civil war broke 
out, they were recalled, reaching Japan shortly after the fighting be- 
gan. They returned, says one of their number, " with their faces 
flushed with enthusiastic sympathy with the modern civilization of 
Christendom." Then they began the preparation of those original 
works and translations, which were eagerly read by the new men in 
power. Edition after edition was issued, bought, read, lent, and circu- 
lated. In these books the history of the Western nations was faith- 
fully told ; their manners and customs and beliefs were explained and 
defended ; their resources, methods of thought and education, morals, 
laws, systems of governments, etc., were described and elucidated. 
Notably pre - eminent among these writers was the school - master, Fu- 



kuzawa. Western ideas were texts : he clothed them in Japanese 
words. He further pointed out the weaknesses, defects, and errors 
of his countrymen, and showed how Japan, by isolation and the false 
pride that scorned all knowledge derived from foreigners, had failed 
to advance like Europe or America, and that nothing could save his 
country from conquest or decay but the assimilation of the ideas 
which have made the foreigners what they are. There is scarcely a 
prominent or rising man in Japan but has read Fukuzawa's works, and 
gratefully acknowledges the stimulus and lasting benefit derived from 
them. Many of the leaders of the movement toward restoration, who 
joined it with the cry, " Expel the foreigners," found themselves, after 
perusal of these works, "unconsciously involved in the advance, with- 
out wish or invitation," and utterly unable to explain why they were 
in the movement. Fukuzawa has declined every one of the many flat- 
tering offers of office and power under the Government, and still de- 
votes himself to his school and the work of teaching and translation, 
consuming his life in noble drudgery. He has been the interpreter of 
Western ideas and life, caring little about the merely external garnish 
and glitter of civilization. His books on " Western Manners and Cus- 
toms," and his volumes of tracts and essays, have had an enormous 

Nakamura, also a school-master, has, besides writing original tracts, 
translated a considerable body of English literature, John Stuart Mill's 
" Essay on Liberty," Smiles's " Self-help," and a few smaller works on 
morals and religion, which have been widely read. His memorial on 
the subject of Christianity and religious liberty made a very profound 
impression upon the emperor and court, and gave a powerful check to 
the ultra Shintoists. Mori, Mitsukuri, Kato, Nishi, Uchida, Uriu, have 
also done noble service as authors and translators. It is the writer's 
firm belief, after nearly four years of life in Japan, mingling among 
the progressive men of the empire, that the reading and study of books 
printed in the Japanese language have done more to transform the Jap- 
anese mind, and to develop an impulse in the direction of modern civ- 
ilization, than any other cause or series of causes. 

During the past decade the production of purely Japanese literature 
has almost entirely ceased. A few histories of recent events, a few 
war-poems and pamphlets urging the expulsion of the barbarians, were 
issued previous to the civil war ; but since then almost the entire lit- 
erary activity has been exhibited in translations, political documents, 
memoirs of " mikado reverences " who had been martyrs to their faith, 


and largely in the expression of Western ideas adapted to the under- 
standing of the Japanese. 

The war was ended by July, 1870. Rewards were distributed ; and 
the Government was still further consolidated by creating definite 
offices, and making all titles, which had been for nearly six centuries 
empty names, to have reality and power. There was still, however, 
much dead wood in the ship of state, a condition of chronic strain, a 
dangerous amount of friction in the machinery, wrangling among the 
crew, and a vast freight of bad cargo that the purest patriots saw the 
good ship must " unload," if she was to be saved. This unloading was 
accomplished in the usual way, by dismissing hundreds of officials one 
day, and re-appointing on the next only those favorable to the desired 
policy of the mikado. 

Furthermore, it became daily more certain that national develop- 
ment and peace could never be secured while the feudal system ex- 
isted. The clan spirit which it fostered was fatal to national unity. 
So long as a Japanese meant by " my country " merely his own clan, 
loyalty might exist, but patriotism could not. The time seemed ripe 
for action. The press was busy in issuing pamphlets advocating the 
abolition of feudalism. Several of the great daimios, long before ready 
for it, now openly advocated the change. The lesser ones knew bet- 
ter than to oppose it. The four great clans, Satsuma, Choshiu, Tosa, 
and Hizen (see Appendix), were the pioneers of the movement They 
addressed a memorial to the throne, in which it was argued that the 
daimios' fiefs ought not to be looked on as private property, but as 
the mikado's own. They offered to restore the registers of their clans 
to the sovereign. These were the external signs of the times. Back 
of these, there were at least three men who were determined to sweep 
feudalism away utterly. They were Kido, Okubo, Iwakura. The first 
step was to abolish the appellation of court noble (kuge) and territo- 
rial prince (daimio), and to designate both as kuazoku, or noble fami- 
lies. The former heads of clans were temporarily appointed chiji 
(governors of their clans). This smoothed the way. In September, 
1871, the edict went forth calling the daimios to Tokio to retire to pri- 
vate life. With scarcely an exception, the order was quietly obeyed. 
The men behind the throne in Tokio were ready and even willing to 
shed blood, should their (the mikado's) commands be resisted, and 
they expected to do it. The daimios who were hostile to the measure 
knew too well the character of the men who framed the edict to resist 
it. The writer counts among the most impressive of all his life's ex- 


periences that scene in the immense castle hall of Fukui, when the 
Daimio of Echizen bid farewell to his three thousand two-sworded re- 
tainers, and, amidst the tears and smiles and loving farewells of the 
city's populace, left behind him lands, revenue, and obedient followers, 
and retired to live as a private gentleman in Tokio. 

Japan's feudalism began nearly eight centuries ago, and existed un- 
til within the year 1871. It was not a tower of strength in its last 
days. Long before its fall, it was an empty shell and a colossal sham. 
Feudalism is only alive and vigorous when the leaders are men of 
brain and action. Of all the daimios, there were not ten of any per- 
sonal importance. They were amiable nobodies, great only in stom- 
ach or silk robes. Many were sensualists, drunkards, or titled fools. 
The real power in each clan lay in the hands of able men of inferior 
rank, who ruled their masters. These are now the men who compose 
the present Government of Japan. They rose against the shogun, 
overthrew him, sent him to private life, and then compelled their mas- 
ters, the daimios, to do likewise. They hold the emperor, and carry 
on the government in his name. The mikado, however, is much more 
of a ruler than his faineant ancestors. Still, the source of government 
is the same. In 1872, by actual count, four-fifths of the men in the 
higher offices were of the four great clans of Choshiu, Satsuma, Hizen, 
and Tosa. A like census in 1876 would show a larger proportion of 
officials from the northern and central provinces. Nevertheless, this 
is not sectionalism. The ablest men rise to office and power in spite 
of the locality of their birth. Natural ability asserts its power, and in 
the Cabinet and departments are now many of the old bakufu adher- 
ents, even Katsu, Obuko Ichio, Enomoto, and several scions of the 
house of Tokugawa. The power has been shifted, not changed, and 
is displayed by moving new machinery and doing new work. 

Who are now, and who have been, the actual leaders in Japan since 
1868? They are Okubo, Kido, Iwakura, Sanjo, Goto, Katsu, Soyejima, 
Okuma, Oki, Ito, and many others, of whom but two or three are kuge, 
while none is a daimio. Almost all were simple samurai, or retainers 
of the territorial nobles. 

The objects of the revolution of 1868 have been accomplished. 
The shogunate and the feudal system are forever no more. The mi- 
kado is now the restored and beloved emperor. The present per- 
sonage, a young man of twenty-four years of age, has already shown 
great independence and firmnness of character, and may in future be- 
come as much the real ruler of his people as the Czar is of his. The 


enterprise of establishing Shinto as the national faith lias failed vastly 
and ignominiously, though the old Shinto temples have been purged 
and many new ones erected, while official patronage and influence 
give the ancient cult a fair outward show. Buddhism is still the re- 
ligion of the Japanese people, though doubtless on the wane. 

To summarize this chapter : the shogun was simply one of the many 
vassals of the mikado of comparatively inferior grade, and historically 
a usurper; the term "tycoon" was a diplomatic fraud, a title to which 
the shogun had, officially, not the shadow of right ; the foreign diplo- 
matists made treaties with one who had no right whatever to make 
them ; the bakuf u was an organized usurpation ; the stereotyped state- 
ments concerning a " spiritual " and a " secular " emperor are literary 
fictions of foreign book-makers ; feudalism arose upon the decadence 
of the mikado's power ; it was the chief hinderance to national unity, 
and was ready for its fall before the shock came ; in all Japanese his- 
tory the reverence for the mikado's person and the throne has been 
the strongest national trait and the mightiest political force; the ba- 
kufu exaggerated the mikado's sacredriess for its own purposes; the 
Japanese are impressible and ever ready to avail themselves of what- 
ever foreign aids or appliances will tend to their own aggrandizement : 
nevertheless, there exists a strong tendency to conserve the national 
type, pride, feelings, religion, and equality with, if not superiority to, 
all the nations of the world ; the true explanation of the events of the 
last eight years in Japan is to be sought in these tendencies and the 
internal history of the nation ; the shogun, bakufu, and perhaps even 
feudalism would have fallen, had foreigners never landed in Japan; 
the movement toward modern civilization originated from within, and 
was not simply the result of foreign impact or pressure ; the work of 
enlightenment and education, which alone could assure success to the 
movement, was begun and carried on by native students, statesmen, 
and simple patriots. 

|A mighty task awaited the new Government after the revolution 
of 1868. It was to heal the disease of ages ; to uproot feudalism and 
sectionalism, with all their abuses ; to give Japan a new nationality ; to 
change her social system ; to infuse new blood into her veins ; to make 
a hermit nation, half blinded by a sudden influx of light, competitor 
with the wealthy, powerful, and aggressive nations of Christendom. 
It was a problem of national regeneration or ruin. It seemed like en- 
tering into history a second time, to be born again/) 

What transcendent abilities needed for such a task ! What national 


union, harmony in council, unselfish patriotism required ! What chief, 
towering above his fellows, would arise, who by mighty intellect and 
matchless tact could achieve what Yoritomo, or the Taiko, or lyeyasu 
himself, or all, would be helpless to perform ? At home were the stol- 
idly conservative peasantry, backed by ignorance, superstition, priest- 
craft, and political hostility. On their own soil they were fronted 
by aggressive foreigners, who studied all Japanese questions through 
the spectacles of dollars and cents and trade, and whose diplomatists 
too often made the principles of Shylock their system. Outside, the 
Asiatic nations beheld with contempt, jealousy, and alarm the depart- 
ure of one of their number from Turanian ideas, principles, and civili- 
zation. China, with ill -concealed anger, Corea with open defiance, 
taunted Japan with servile submission to the " foreign devils." 

For the first time, the nation was represented to the world by an 
embassy at once august and plenipotentiary. It was not a squad of 
petty officials or local nobles going forth to kiss a toe, to play the 
part of figure-heads or stool-pigeons, to beg the aliens to get out of 
Japan, to keep the scales on foreign eyes, to buy gun-boats, or to hire 
employes. A noble of highest rank and blood of immemorial an- 
tiquity, vicar of majesty and national government, with four cabinet 
ministers, set out to visit the courts of the fifteen nations having 
treaties with Dai Nippon. These were Iwakura Tomomi, Okubo To- 
shimiti, Kido Takayoshi, Ito Hirobumi, and Yamaguchi Masaka. They 
were accompanied by commissioners representing every Government 
department, sent to study and report upon the methods and resources 
of foreign civilizations. They arrived in Washington, February 29th, 
1872, and, for the first time in history, a letter signed by the mikado 
was seen outside of Asia. It was presented by the embassadors, robed 
in their ancient Yamato costume, to the President of the United States, 
on the 4th of March, Mr. Arinori Mori acting as interpreter. " The first 
president of the free republic " and the men who had elevated the eta 
to citizenship stood face to face in fraternal accord. The one hundred 
and twenty-third sovereign of an empire in its twenty-sixth centennial 
saluted the citizen - ruler of a nation whose century aloe had not yet 
bloomed. On the 6th of March they were welcomed on the floor of 
Congress. This day marked the formal entrance of Japan upon the 
theatre of universal history. 


IN JAPAN. 1870-1875. 



THE longest unbroken stretch of water statedly traversed by the keel 
of steamer or sailing vessel lies between California and Japan. The 
floating city, which leaves its dock in San Francisco at noon on the 
first day of each month, pulses across four thousand miles of ocean, 
from which rises no island, harbor, or reef. Nothing amidst all the 
crowding triumphs of the genius and power of man so impresses the 
reflecting mind as the thought of that mighty ark, which, by the mag- 
net and the stars, is guided in safety to the desired haven. Without 
a Noah, without dove or olive leaf, freighted with bird, beast, and fish, 
and often with thirteen hundred human souls, over a flood of waters 
that cover a world beneath, alone for weeks, that ark floats on, at the 
bidding of the master. 

Twenty-seven days in the solitudes of the sea seem long to the man 
of this decade, who crosses the Atlantic's thousand leagues in nine 
days, and the New World in a week. Even the old traveler whose 
digestion is sea-worthy ; whose appetite is like a whetted saw ; who 
meets a host of genial fellow-birds of passage, and finds officers who 
will answer questions ; who discovers new and readable books in the 
ship's library ; and who delights in the study of steerage ethnology 
yearns in his secret soul for the sight of land again. Even the ocean 
scenery, though, like God's mercies, new every morning and fresh ev- 
ery evening, palls on the eye, and loses its glory before the thoughts 
of the crowded city in which comforts cluster and pleasures bloom. 
The waves that daily cradle the infant sun and pillow his dying splen- 
dor, the effulgence of the cavernous sunsets, the wonders of spouting 
whales, flying-fish, phosphorescence at night, " multitudinous smiles " 
of waves by day, the circling gulls evermore, or even the fun of bury- 
ing a day (Saturday, December 16th) under the 180th meridian, would 
be gladly exchanged for a patch of farm or the sober glory of a wide- 
spreading oak Often, indeed, the monotony of the voyage is relieved 
by meeting one of the company's steamers. If the weather be fair, 


the pillar of cloud, or the long thin scarf of black smoke, descried afar 
off, is the harbinger of the coming ship. The exchange of newspapers 
and the sending homeward of letters are accomplished, to the intense 
delight of passengers jaded with ennui. 

Thus met in placid mid-ocean, on Sunday, December llth, 1870, the 
P. M. S. S. Co.'s steamers Great Republic, Captain J. H. Freeman, from 
San Francisco, and the Japan, bound to San Francisco, from the land 
whither we were bound. All day long we had watched the smoke. 
At 5.30 P.M. a rocket was sent up from the Japan. In a few mo- 
ments our dinner-table was deserted. Within a stone's throw, the pas- 
sengers on either ship shouted to each other. The stately ships, with 
scores of lighted windows gleaming on the waters, parted at seven 
o'clock, one moving to the home-land, one to the Mikado's Empire. 

The meeting of steamers in mid-ocean is, strange to say, a matter of 
dislike to a certain class of persons, who, in spite of all preventive pre- 
cautions, keep up their existence. One or two " stowaways " are found 
on nearly every steamer that leaves the shores of either continent. 
They sneak on board the big ship while in port, and are driven from 
their lair, when at sea, by hunger. When first discovered, the inquisi- 
tor of the ship the purser uses all his skill to extort the full passage 
money. If not forthcoming, the " stowaway " is consigned to purga- 
tory i. e., the fire-room, and compelled to pass coal and feed the fires. 
This process refines his feelings so far that the " dross " is produced, 
if on the victim's person. If he refuses to do duty, his fare being still 
unpaid, he is put in irons, but, by passing through purgatory of the 
furnace-room, he is " saved " from further punishment, and reaches the 
paradise of firm land, " yet so as by fire." 

All these incidents and accidents of sea-life cease to have any im- 
portance after the oracle at the head of the table, Captain J. H. Free- 
man, has announced that " we shall sight Cape King at day-break to- 
morrow." We try to sleep well during our last night on the water ; 
but sleep, so often won and long embraced thus far, becomes fickle and 
flies our eyelids. With joyful wakefulness, our thoughts are busy with 
the morrow, until at last, in the wee morning hours, our eyelids are 

I wake early on the 29th of December, 1870, and from out my 
state-room window behold the eye-gladdening land within rifle-shot. 
Hills, crested with timber, line the bay, and the beaches are dotted with 
thatched huts and white store-houses. Fishermen's boats, manned and 
moving over the bay, are near enough for us to distinguish their occu- 


pants. Tall, muscular men, with skin of a dirty copper color, in long, 
loose dress, their mid-scalps shaven, and the projecting cue or top-knot, 
of the percussion gun-hammer style, are the first natives of Japan whom 
we see at home. Though different in dress, condition, and as the bar- 
ber left them, from their gay fellow-countrymen who spend plenty of 
money and study hard in the United States, they, nevertheless, exactly 
resemble their brethren in physiognomy and general appearance. 

The dayspring in the east sifts enough of suggestive light over the 
land to entice us into the belief that the Land of the Rising Sun is 
one of the fairest on earth a belief which a residence of years has 
ripened into an article of faith. To the right lie the two mountainous 
provinces of Awa and Kadzusa, with their numerous serrated peaks 
and valleys, which may be beautiful, though now they sleep. To the 
left is the village of Uraga, opposite which Commodore Perry anchored, 
with his whole squadron of steamers, on the 7th of July, 1853. Re- 
maining eight days at this place, he was accorded what he first de- 
manded an interview with, and the reception of President Fillmore's 
letter by, an officer of high rank. After the ceremony, he gave the 
place the name of Reception Bay, which it still retains. Now we pass 
Perry Island, Webster Isle, and, on the opposite side, Cape Saratoga. 
We must not forget, mournful though the thought be, that hereabouts 
beneath us, perhaps under our keel, lies the United States war steam- 
er Oneida, which was run into and sunk by the British mail steamer 
Bombay, January 23d, 1870. This is sad; but the sequel is disgrace- 
ful. Down under the fathoms the Oneida has lain, thus far undis- 
turbed, a rich and grateful Government having failed to trouble itself 
to raise the ship or do honor to the dead. The hulk was put up at 
auction and sold (in 1874), with certain conditions, to a Japanese, for 
fifteen hundred dollars. This is the one sad thought that casts its 
shadow over the otherwise profound memories of which the Gulf of 
Yedo is so suggestive to Americans. The prominent geographical 
points in the bay echo familiar American names, which later geogra- 
phers and a cosmopolitan community have ratified, and which com- 
memorate American genius, skill, and bloodless victory. 

The ship moves on, and the panoramic landscape unfolds before us. 
In the background of undulating plains, under high and close cultiva- 
tion, and spotted with villages, rise the crumpled backs of many ranges 
of mountains ; while afar off, yet brought delusively near by the clear 
air, sits the queenly mountain in her robes of snow, already wearing 
the morning's crown of light, and her forehead gilded by the first ray 


of the yet unrisen sun. Beyond her, in the purple air, still glitter the 
jewel stars, while her own bosom trembles through many changes of 
color. Far out at sea, long before land is descried, and from a land 
area of thirteen provinces, the peerless cone is seen and loved. Per- 
haps no view is so perfect, so impressive for a life-time, so well fitted 
to inspire that intense appreciation of nature's masterpieces, whose 
glory and freshness we can feel intensely but once, as is the view of 
Fuji from an incoming steamer. From vast outspread base, through 
mighty curves, sweeping past snow, and up to her summit, the mount- 
ain is visible in queenly solitude and fullness of beauty. Gradually 
the vast form is bathed in light, and the Land of the Rising Sun stands 
revealed in golden glory. It is a joy to have seen it thus at first vision. 
From serene and ancient Fuji, we turn to behold the bustling up- 
start metropolis of the foreigners in Japan, as it appears in full daylight. 
Passing Mississippi Bay and Treaty Point, we arrive in front of what 
was once a little fishing village, but which is now the stately city of 
Yokohama, We count the craft that lie anchored in the harbor. 
From thirty to fifty are usually in port. Steamers from Hakodate, 
Shanghae, and Hong-Kong, and the regular mail steamers from Mar- 
seilles and Southampton, lie at their buoys. Here are wooden war- 
ships and iron-clads, from which fly the British, French, Japanese, 
German, or American flags. A tremendous amount of useless and 
costly saluting is done by these men-of-war, whom the country folks 
call " boom- boom fune." Coal -hulks, store-ships, and all the usual 
evidences of an old harbor, are discovered all around us. The town 
itself seems compactly built of low houses, with tiled roofs. They 
are usually two-storied, though many are, in the language of the East, 
" bungalows," or one-storied dwellings. The foreign settlement seems 
to be arranged on a plain about a mile square. The Japanese town 
spreads out another mile or more to the right. Beyond the plains is 
a sort of semicircle of hills, called " The Bluff." It is covered with 
scores of handsome villas and dwelling-houses, of all sizes and varieties 
of architecture. To the left the Bluff runs abruptly into the sea. 
To the right it sweeps away to the south-west. In local parlance, the 
various parts of Yokohama are distinguished as " The Bluff," " The Set- 
tlement," and the " Native " or " Japanese " town. Along the water- 
front of the settlement runs a fine, wide, well-paved street, called " The 
Bund," with a stout wall of stone masonry on the water-side. Private 
dwellings, gardens, and hotels adorn it, facing the water. There are as 
yet no docks for the shipping, but there is the English and the French 


" hatoba." The former consists of a stone breakwater, or piers, rising 
twelve feet or so out of the water, inclosing a large irregular quad- 
rangle, with a narrow entrance at one corner. The land -side of the 
English hatoba is furnished with steps, and a score or more of boats 
can discharge their passengers at once. The French hatoba consists of 
two parallel piers of stone projecting out into the bay. The building 
of most imposing ugliness from the sea-view is the British Consulate, 
and near by it is the American. The Japanese Sai Ban Sho, or Court- 
house, is larger than either of the consulate buildings, and much hand- 
somer. At the other extremity of the settlement, toward the Bluff, 
was the French camp, and near by it the English. Three hundred 
French soldiers guarded as many French civilians resident in Japan, 
and three hundred English marines, who relieved the Tenth British 
foot the same that served their king on Bunker Hill were in camp 
in Yokohama in 1870, and remained until 1875. 

The engines stop, and the great ship lies motionless at her buoy. 
Instantly the crowd of boats which have waited, like hounds in the 
leash, shoot toward the stem ports and gangway, and the steamer be- 
comes walled in. First of all, the United States mail-boat, propelled 
by six native scullers, is flying swiftly shoreward, to satisfy the eager 
souls of the elect with its precious freight. Friends throng on board 
to meet friends. Englishmen ask the news whether there is to be 
war with Russia ? French and Germans eagerly inquire for the latest 
news from the seat of war. From one, I learn that the Japanese Gov- 
ernment has already issued a proclamation of neutrality, for French 
marines and German sailors have already come to blows in Yokohama. 
Fancy creatures in velvet and diamonds, with gold on their fingers 
and brass in their faces, hasten to see whether any of their guild have 
arrived from San Francisco. 

Leaving deck and cabin, we visit the steerage. The coal-lighters 
are crowded with dirty coolies. They impress us as being the lowest 
of their class. Their clothing is exceedingly scanty. An American 
lady with good eyesight supposed them to be clad in very tight leath- 
er-colored garments. On second sight, wondering at the perfect fit of 
the dress, she found it to be the only clothing which mother Nature 
provides for her children. The proprietors of the native boats have 
entered the ports, and are driving a brisk trade in oranges and various 
articles of diet, precious only to Asiatics. Huge dried persimmons, 
which, though shrunken, are four or five inches long, and sake, are 
very salable. A squad of the Chinese, so numerous in Yokohama, are 


busy in furnishing small change to those who wish to go ashore. Jap- 
anese tempos, and iron and copper cash, are exchanged for American 
dimes, greenbacks, and Mexicans. 

With the kindly aid of a friend, we prepare to go ashore. Safely 
seated in one of the clean unpainted boats, in which we detect no iron, 
but only here and there a cleet of copper, we enjoy the glorious beauty 
of the situation. In the stern stand the two sendos, who make their 
keel glide over the waves as swiftly as a Venetian gondola shoots 
under and out from the Blalto. Already the Japanese boatmen have 
beaten in a race with the American tars. Yonder whizzes a butcher's 
boat, freshly laden from the abattoir below the city. Six naked ath- 
letes of magnificent physique, chanting in wild chorus, urge on their 

Sculling is the method invariably in use among the Japanese. The 
long scull consists of two pieces tied together. On the handle is a 
pin, on which a rope is slipped, so that the scull is held down to a 
uniform height while being worked. The blade rests near where it 
joins the stock, on an outrigger pivot. The sweep of the stock, at 
the hand end, is nearly two feet. The sendo, planting his left foot on 
an inclined board, sways his arras and body at right angles to the 
boat, singing meanwhile one of his own songs, in his own way. We 
soon skim over a half-mile of the blue water, pass the United States 
steamer Idaho and the Prussian war-ship Hermann, and, darting within 
the stone piers, land on the hatoba, and are in the mikado's empire. 

The custom-house and the native officials detain us but a few mo- 
ments. Passing out the gate, we receive our first invitation to part 
with some small change from three fat little urchins in curious dress, 
with lion's head and feathers for a cap, and with red streamers hang- 
ing down their backs. They run before us and perform all kinds of 
astonishing tricks, such as carrying their heads beneath their feet, mak- 
ing a ball of themselves, and trundling along, etc. By our financial 
dealings with these little street-tumblers, we learn that " shinjo " means 
" gift," and " arigato " means " thank you," which is the beginning 
of our vocabulary in Japanese. " 

The fine wide streets of Yokohama are well paved and curbed. 
The hard white-stone and concrete pavements are able to resist for 
years the rutting action of the sharp-edged wheels of the native carts. 
These wheels are ingeniously constructed, and their felloes are mor- 
tised in segments. They need no tires, and have none. They are 
propelled by four powerful fellows, who work in pairs, and have 


scarcely more clothing than there is harness on a horse. The fore- 
most pair push with hands and thighs the front cross-bar, behind 
which they stand. The other pair supply the vis a tergo, applying 
their shoulders to a beam which juts out obliquely from beneath and 
behind the cart. The street cries in every country attract first the 

Push-cart in Yokohama. Uokusai. 

new-comer's ears ; and the cry of these cart coolies in Yokohama is 
one of the most peculiar sounds in or out of Japan. I never after- 
ward heard these cries, except in Yokohama and Tokio. While the 
two men in the rear save their wind and vocal force, the two foremost 
coolies utter alternately and incessantly a coarse, deep, guttural cry, 
which, if spelling were possible, would be written, " Hai ! huida ! ho ! 
ho ! hai ! huida ! wa ! ho ! ho ! huidah !" etc. I was, at first hearing, 
under the impression that the poor wretches were suffering a grievous 
colic, and a benevolent inclination seized me to buy a few bottles of 
Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, and distribute them on the spot. On 
being told, however, that nothing was the matter with the men, it be- 
ing their custom to yell in this manner, I abandoned my intention. 

Rows of iron lamp-posts, with lanterns and burners trimmed and in 
cleanly readiness, tell of streets well lighted with gas at night. Along 
the avenue, on which stand the British and American consulates on 
one side, and the Japanese court-house, bonded warehouses, and police 
station on the other, are sidewalks, which, along several blocks, are 
thickly planted, in a breadth of ten feet or more, with evergreens and 
flowers. Among these we see the camellias in full bloom. The main 
street crosses this avenue at right angles, extending from the Japanese 


town to the canal at the foot of The Bluff. The sidewalks on it are 
narrow ; but the street pavements are so hard, and are kept so clean, 
that it is not unpleasant to walk in the street, even in wet weather. 
The streets in the foreign settlement are paved, curbed, and drained. 
Since 1874 they have been lighted with gas, from the gas-works of 
the rich merchant, Takashimaya. 

Here, for the first time, I behold that native Japanese invention, the 
product of a Tokio genius, the jin-riki-sha (man-power carriage). It 
has often been described. It is a baby carriage on adult wheels. It 
holds one or two persons. A man in the shafts pulls it; sometimes 
he is assisted by another from behind. When you wish to go fast, 
you employ two men, or you may drive tandem with three. Many of 
these sha are highly ornamented; for art is appreciated even by the 
lowest classes in Japan, as a residence of five minutes, and afterward 
four years, concur in assuring me. Some are made into the form of a 
boat, with a chanticleer for a figure-head. Foreigners and natives use 
them, and a wag from Yankee-land has dubbed them " Pull-man cars." 

Main Street is the showiest of all the Broadway of the " New York 
of Japan." Here we pass fine stone-fronted stores, banks, hotels, and 
restaurants. The magnificent show-windows and abundance of plate- 
glass suggest handsome variety and solid wealth within. These outside 
displays are, in most cases, but true indices of the varied articles of 
merchandise within, which are obtainable at very fair prices. Nothing 
eatable, drinkable, or wearable seems to be lacking to suit the tastes 
or wishes of an ordinary man, beast, or angel ; though we have heard 
that the entire bevy of Miss Flora M'Flimsey's cousins in Yokohama 
assert most strenuously that there is " nothing to wear " at any time. 
Nevertheless, to man or beast, the abundance and variety of feminine 
paraphernalia visible in one of the shops in which angelic robes are 
sold is simply wonderful ; and one notices that the visits of the angels 
to this place are neither few nor far between. Craftsmen in the finer 
arts also get their wealth in Yokohama. Several jewelers display 
tempting wares, and ply a brisk trade. Young J.apan wears a watch 
nowadays, and thousands are sold yearly in Yokohama. Barber's poles 
salute us on several streets, and one may be shaved in French, English, 
or Japanese fashion. 

Photographic establishments tempt our eyes and purse with tasteful 
albums of Japanese costume and scenery. First-class eating -saloons 
await their crowds at the hungry hour. The several auction -rooms 
seem to be well filled with native and foreign purchasers. Confection- 


era display their bait for the palate. Newspaper offices greet us ; law- 
yers' and doctors' and dentists' signs seem to be sufficiently plentiful. 
Carriages and " traps " add to the bustle, and several knots of Japanese 
farmers, pilgrims, and new-comers from the provinces, staring surpris- 
ingly at the sights they have long heard of, but which they now for 
the first time behold, are met as we pass up the street. French Cath- 
olic or Russian Greek priests in their cassocks, nuns in their black 
robes, well-dressed Chinese, Jews from every nation under heaven, 
French soldiers in blue, British soldiers in red coats, and the talkers 
in a score of different languages, are met with, and help to give the 
town its cosmopolitan character. Main Street, however, is only the 
street of shops, shop-keepers, and the usual vulgar herd. 

Let us turn into the street of " hongs " and " merchants." Be it 
known that in Yokohama, and the Eastern ports generally, the dis- 
tinction between a merchant and a shop-keeper is dire and radical. 
With us lay folk outside of the trading world the difference is small, 
and not always perceptible a mole - hill, at the least ; but in these 
Eastern ports a great gulf is fixed, socially and commercially, between 
the two castes, and the difference is mountainous. With us, a shop- 
keeper is a man and a brother ; in Yokohama, in the eye of the clubs, 
and with the elect of wealth, fashion, and the professions, he is but a 
heathen and a publican. Advertising, the use of a sign - board, and 
such -like improprieties, are evidences of low caste, and consign the 
offender to the outer darkness, far away from happy club men and 
select visitors. This relic of English caste traditions, rank, and class 
worship is not so strong now as formerly, but is sufficiently potent to 
cause many a bitter pang and many heart-burnings to those who first 
experience it in their new residence in the East. 

The street in which the " hongs," or large business establishments, 
are situated is rather gloomy, when compared with the lively Main 
Street. Most of the buildings are of stone, and many of them are fire- 
proof "godowns," or store - houses. From the windows of the "tea- 
firing godowns" issues the fragrant aroma of the new crop of tea, which 
is being " fired " or dried in deep tin basins, over charcoal fires, by na- 
tive girls and women, preparatory to packing and export. Most of 
the largest and wealthiest business houses are owned and managed 
by those who were among the first -comers to Japan. Many of the 
" hongs " are branches of houses in China, or they themselves have 
agencies at Nagasaki, Hiogo, and ports in China. From five to twenty 
young men form their clerical staff, backed by a small army of native 


porters, coolies, packers, boatmen, etc. These large firms control near- 
ly all the export trade of Yokohama, and, indeed, of Japan. The tea, 
silk, copper, rice, etc., is brought from all parts of the country, though 
chiefly from the West and North, and is disposed of by the native 
merchants through brokers and " compradores." In most cases the 
native producer, or even the broker, never sees the foreigner with 
whom he deals. The most important man in many foreign firms, the 
power behind and before the throne, is the " compradore." This su- 
perior being is a Chinaman, who understands enough Japanese, espe- 
cially with the help of the written Chinese character, to deal with the 
Japanese merchant, producer, or broker. He is the provider and pay- 
master of the firm in its dealings with the natives. He arranges, by 
and with the advice of the merchant, the purchase, sale, and delivery 
of merchandise. He hires and pays the Japanese employes, and, being 
the trusted man, is a creature of imposing pretensions, and a quasi- 
partner of the firm. His facilities, opportunities, and never -cloyed 
desire for "squeezes" from his Japanese clients are equally abundant, 
and he lives up to his privileges. Various shifts have been made use 
of by the Japanese merchants to depose this obnoxious middle -man 
from his position, and even to eliminate him entirely from mercantile 
transactions. A bold attempt of this kind was lately made by the 
plucky Governor of Yokohama, Oye Taku ; but, as the manner of the 
attempt was technically illegal, it failed, and matters still remain as 
they were before. 

This aristocratic and highly antiquated form of doing business, in 
which the merchant practically holds himself aloof from his custom- 
ers, is an inheritance from the foreign merchants in the ports of 
China. Ignorant of the language of that country, trusting their 
affairs to a " compradore " who spoke pigeon-English, they lived and 
grew rich, without troubling themselves to learn the language of the 
pig-tails around them. Few of the merchants in Japan, to their dis- 
credit let it be said, have seriously endeavored to master the speech of 
their producers, and, being ignorant of it, the " compradore " is, in 
such a state of things, a necessary evil. This old-fogy method of do- 
ing business must in time give way before the enterprise and energy 
of the younger firms, who refuse to employ " compradores," and the 
members of which are beginning to acquire the language of the people 
with whom they deal. There might have been excuses to the first- 
comers for not learning a language for the acquisition of which no 
teachers or apparatus at that time existed ; but at the present, thanks 


to American missionaries and the gentlemen of the English civil service, 
an excellent apparatus of grammars, dictionaries, and phrase-books exists. 

The four great steamship agencies at present in Yokohama are the 
American Pacific Mail ; the Oriental and Occidental ; the English Pen- 
insular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company ; and the French Mes- 
sag6ries Maritime Paquet Postes Francois. The Ocean Steamship Com- 
pany lias also an agency here. The native lines of mail steamers Mit- 
sui Bishi (Three Diamonds) also make Yokohama their terminus. 
The coming orthodox bridal tour and round-the-world trip will soon 
be made vid Japan first, then Asia, Europe, and America. Already 
the circum-mundane tourists have become so frequent and temporarily 
numerous in Yokohama as to be recognized as a distinct class. In the 
easy language of the port, they are called " globe-trotters." 

The most interesting portion of Yokohama, alike to the new-comer 
and the old resident, is the Bluff. Coming to a port opened primarily 
for trading purposes only, one expects to find shops and store-houses, 
but few anticipate seeing such dwellings and homes as are to be found 
on the Bluff. In the afternoon, when the business of the day is over, 
and the high, grand, and mighty event of the day, the dinner, has not 
yet been consummated, the visitor on the Bluff sees very fine speci- 
mens of horseflesh, good turn-outs, and plenty of pedestrian and eques- 
trian humanity out for fresh air. The trim door-yards, lawns, gardens, 
fences, and hedges help to make a picture of unexpected beauty. The 
villas and dwellings are not high, being bungalows of one story, or 
houses of two stories. Though not remarkable as architectural tri- 
umphs, they are picturesque without, and full of comfort within. 
Added to home attractions, is the ever-present lovely scenery of the 
bay, the distant mountains, the peerless Fuji, and the smiling valleys. 
Nearly all the professional and many of the business men live on the 
Bluff, and, whether from the natural altitude, the inspiring freshness 
of the scenery, or otherwise, the Bluff dwellers are apt to consider 
themselves of a slightly higher social order than the inhabitants of 
the plain. The Bluff spreads over an irregular triangle, and its sur- 
face is rather undulating. Many of the dwellings are snugly embosom- 
ed amidst groves, or on the slopes and in the hollows, but most of 
them crown its spurs and ridges in commanding positions. The le- 
gations of the treaty powers were, until 1874, situated in especially 
choice spots. Strange to say, the foreign diplomatic representatives, 
instead of residing in Tokio, lived at Yokohama, preferring society to 
the doubtful charms of the Japanese capital. 


My opportune arrival so near New Year's, and the custom of visiting 
being enthusiastically observed, enabled me to see into the homes of 
many old residents, and to meet most of the social magnates and men 
prominent in the diplomatic, literary, commercial, and missionary world. 
Among others, I saw our hospitable American minister, Hon. Charles E. 
De Long, the Dutch, French, and Danish ministers, and several consuls 
and attaches. Mr. Portman, formerly secretary and interpreter to the 
American Legation, one of the valuable and unrewarded servants of our 
Government, was then hale and gray, living alone, not knowing that 
his grave was to be in the Ville du Havre. 

Beside the legations are the fine American hospital, the General 
and British hospitals, and the public gardens. On summer evenings 
one of the bands from the flag-ships stationed in the harbor plays in 
these gardens ; while flower, beast, and bird shows, and various sports 
and amusements, fire-works, etc., are furnished by the most indefatiga- 
ble proprietor that ever catered to public taste. Beyond the " foreign 
concession" of land that is, outside the limits of foreign dwellings is 
the race-course, an ample space of ground, leveled, fenced, and furnished 
with buildings and spectators' stands. The races are held during threo 
days in spring and autumn, followed invariably by a " Black Monday," 
when bets are paid. An incredible amount of excitement, truly Brit- 
ish, is got up over Oriental horseflesh. The term for a Eurasian horse 
is " griffin." 

A fine new road has been built by the Japanese Government, which 
passes by the race-course, and winds over the hills and down along the 
shores of Mississippi Bay, which is described as " the most beautiful for 
varied scenery in the world." Of course, I am quoting from those who 
speak in the same sense in which a mother speaks when she asserts, 
and really believes, that her babe is the last crowning wonder of the 
universe. Nevertheless, Yokohama numbers among its residents many 
tourists and sometime residents in the Old and New Worlds in many 
habitable latitudes. Their almost unanimous verdict is, that Mississip- 
pi Bay, especially at the sunset and twilight hours, is matchlessly love- 
ly. The New Road, after passing along the beach and through sever- 
al Japanese villages, past rice and wheat fields, and through a beautiful 
valley, rejoins Yokohama at " Legation Bluff." 

Returning from walk or drive, the event of the day, the grand cul- 
minating act of diurnal existence, to which every thing else is but a 
prelude, the dinner, claims the solemn thought and most vigorous fac- 
ulties of mind and body. Whatever else fails, the dinner must be a 


success. " Life without letters is death," was said by the Romans ; 
but that life without dinners is no life at all, is the solemn conviction 
of most residents in the East. It is further said that a Frenchman 
can cook a dinner as a dinner deserves to be cooked, but only an En- 
glishman can eat it as it ought to be eaten. In Yokohama, dinner is 
the test of success in life. If that momentous feed is successfully 
achieved, sorrow and care are forgotten, the future is hopeful, eternity 
radiant, and the chief end of man is attained. No bolting, no haste, 
no slovenliness in dress, no wishing it over. A dinner to be given 
must be studied and exquisitely planned, as a general plans a battle, 
or a diplomat a treaty. A dinner to be attended must be dressed for, 
anticipated, and rehearsed as a joyful hour on a higher plane of exist- 
ence, or as an ordeal for which one must be steeled and clad in res- 
ignation. To appreciate the esoteric aesthetics of dinner, and to com- 
prehend the higher law that governs these august events, apart from 
the mere vulgar idea of satisfying hunger, one must be educated by a 
long course of observation and experience. Real enjoyment is doubt- 
less to be obtained at these dinner parties ; but such an idea is not 
necessarily included within the objects sought by an orthodox giver 
of a dinner. There are a great many " brilliant flashes of silence " at 
these dinners, and meditations on crockery are common. Neverthe- 
less, it is really believed that a good dinner is the correct method of 
securing the highest earthly happiness, and is the most common means 
of social enjoyment in Yokohama. 

Being such a cosmopolitan place, the dweller in Yokohama must be 
always vigilant to offend none, and in all the windings of conversation 
must pick his steps, lest he tread on the national, religious, or aesthetic 
corns of his neighbors. What is complimentary to one man may be 
insult to some one else present, and so one becomes schooled to make 
only the correct remark. Though this state of armed neutrality may 
sometimes tend to make conversation excessively stupid, and a mere 
round of dessicated commonplaces, it trains one to be, outwardly at 
least, charitable to all, malicious to none. It keeps one circumspect 
and cosmopolitan, whether in opinions or moral practice ; and to be 
cosmopolitan is to be, in Anglo - Oriental eyes, virtuous beyond vulgar 

The predominating culture, thought, manners, dress, and household 
economy in Yokohama, as in all the Eastern ports, is English. Out- 
numbering all the other nationalities, with the Press, the Church, the 
Bar, and the Banks in their own hands ; with their ever-present sol- 


diers and navy ; with their unrivaled civil service, which furnishes so 
many gentlemanly officials ; and with most of the business under 
their control, the prevalence of English thought and methods is very 
easily accounted for. Because of the very merits and excellences of 
the genuine Englishman, the American in the East can easily forgive 
the intense narrowness, the arrogant conceit, and, as relates to Ameri- 
can affairs, the ludicrous ignorance and fondly believed perfection of 
knowledge of so many who arrogate to themselves all the insular per- 
fections. Perhaps most of the Englishmen at the East are fair repre- 
sentatives of England's best fruits; but a grievously large number, 
removed from the higher social pressure which was above them, and 
which kept them at their true level in England, find themselves with- 
out that social pressure in the East; and obeying the "law of press- 
ures," they are apt to become offensively vaporous in their preten- 
sions. These persons are surprised to find even American enterprise 
in the East. They are the most radical and finical concerning every 
idea, custom, ceremony, or social despotism of any kind supposed to 
be English. These men help to form the army of hard-heads and 
civilized boors in Japan, to which our own country furnishes recruits, 
who do so much toward helping the Japanese to carry out in Japan 
their favorite amusement in American hotels, i. e., to descend on an 
elevator; that is, to lay aside their own dignified politeness, and to 
adopt the rough manners of those who fondly imagine themselves 
the embodiment of the elevating influences of civilization. They are 
the foreigners who believe it their solemn duty, and who make it their 
regular practice, to train up their native servant " boys " in the way 
they should go by systematic whippings, beatings, and applications of 
the boot. Fearful of spoiling cook, boy, or " betto " (hostler), they 
spare neither fist, boot, nor cane. In this species of brutality we be- 
lieve the vulgar John Bulls to be sinners above all the foreigners in 
the East. I saw enough in one day to explain why so many of their 
nationality have felt the vengeful swords of Japanese samurai. Al- 
though Americans sometimes are swift-footed to follow the example 
of Englishmen, yet it is usually acknowledged by the Japanese them- 
selves that the Americans, as a class of that heterogeneous collection 
of men, who are all alike to them in being foreigners, are more in- 
clined to give them their rights, and to treat them as equals. 

Be it remembered that in these remarks we do not refer to that 
large body of educated, refined, and true-hearted Englishmen who 
have been such a potent influence in the civilization of Japan. It 


must be confessed, and we cheerfully bear witness to what is a fact, 
that the predominating good influence in Japan is English. Some of 
the most prominent and most highly trusted foreign officials of the 
Japanese Government are English. The navy, the railways, the tele- 
graphs, public works, and light -houses are managed by them almost 
exclusively, and a large part, if not most, of the business of the coun- 
try is in their hands. Some of the very best, and perhaps the majori- 
ty, of lay students of, and scholars in, the Japanese language are En- 
glishmen. For all that goes to refine, elevate, and purify society among 
foreigners we are largely indebted to the English. In my strictures, I 
refer to that numerous class in Japan who, with pecuniary power and 
social influence far above that they could gain at home, ape the man- 
ners and succeed in copying the worst faults of the better class of 
their countrymen. Living among a people capable of teaching them 
good manners, and yet ignorant alike of their history, language, insti- 
tutions, and codes of honor and morals, they regard them as so many 
chattering silk -worms, tea -plants, and tokens of copper. They are 
densely ignorant of every thing outside of England, and with unruffled 
stupidity they fail to conceive how any good thing can come out of a place 
not included within the little island from which they came. I should 
feel very glad if none of my countrymen answered to this description. 
It is to be regretted that the British and American should be so 
often pitted together ; but so long as fair play, chivalric honor, cosmo- 
politan breadth of mind, and Christian courtesy are left us, we think 
the rivalry must be productive of immense good. Like flint and steel, 
before the dead cold mass of Asiatic despotism, superstition, and nar- 
rowness, it must result in kindling many a good spark into flames of 
progress and knowledge. Whatever be their petty differences, the 
English and American ever strike hands for good purposes more 
quickly than any other two nationalities in Japan; and before the 
men of every other nation the American finds more to love, to honor, 
and to admire in the Englishman. It is the two nations cemented in- 
separably together by the blood, religion, language, history, inherit- 
ance, and the love of liberty and law, that are to impress their char- 
acter and civilization on the millions of Asia, and to do most toward 
its regeneration. Let every pen and tongue forbear to needlessly irri- 
tate, or do aught to sunder the ties that bind together the two great 
civilizing powers of the world ; but as for the social bigot, the Philis- 
tine, the bully, let not his disgraced nationality shield him from the 
social exile and public contempt which he deserves. 


Yokohama is fervently believed by many new-comers, especially 
those who are soon discovered to be either verdant or genuine fools, 
to be the very worst place in the world for iniquity, gossip, and all 
manner of rascality. In this they most clearly mistake. Since the 
same reputation attaches to at least a thousand places, I think the er- 
ror lies in a defect in the mental vision of the new-comer. Some tem- 
porary attack of moral color-blindness, strabismus, or disarrangement 
of the moral lenses, must be the cause of such an erroneous opinion. 
Long residents and traveled men agree in the belief that the moral 
status of Yokohama is fully equal to most other ports in the East, if 
not in the world. Some optimists even hold the opinion that it is 
better than many other places that boast loudly of their morals. Cer- 
tain it is that gambling hells have been purged away. Rum " mills " 
and lewd houses, though numerous enough, are not more common than 
in other ports. The white woman in scarlet drives her carriage on the 
Bluff and in the town, but her sisters are not abnormally numerous. 
Where heathen women are cheap, and wives from home are costly, 
chastity is not a characteristic trait of the single men ; but the same 
evil and the same resultant curse rests on all such places where " Chris- 
tians" live side by side with "pagans." Given a superior race with 
superior resources, and poor natives who love money more than virtue, 
and the same state of things results. 

Missionaries abound in Yokohama, engaged in the work of teaching, 
and converting the natives to the various forms of the Christian re- 
ligion. It is a little curious to note the difference in the sentiment 
concerning missionaries on different sides of the ocean. Coming from 
the atmosphere and influences of the Sunday-school, the church, and 
the various religious activities, the missionary seems to most of us an 
exalted being, who deserves all honor, respect, and sympathy. Ar- 
rived among the people in Asiatic ports, one learns, to his surprise, 
that the missionaries, as a class, are "wife -beaters," "swearers," "li- 
ars," "cheats," "hypocrites," " def rauders," "speculators," etc., etc. 
He is told that they occupy an abnormally low social plane, that they 
are held in contempt and open scorn by the " merchants," and by so- 
ciety generally. Certain newspapers even yet love nothing better than 
to catch any stray slander or gossip concerning a man from whom 
there is no danger of gunpowder or cowhide. Old files of some of 
the newspapers remind one of an entomological collection, in which 
the specimens are impaled on pins, or the store-house of that celebra- 
ted New Zealand merchant who sold "canned missionaries." Some 


of the most lovely and lofty curves ever achieved by the nasal orna- 
ments of pretty women are seen when the threadbare topic of mission- 
ary scandal is introduced. The only act approaching to cannibalism 
is when the missionary is served up whole at the dinner-table, and his 
reputation devoured. The new-comer, thus suddenly brought in con- 
tact with such new and startling opinions, usually either falls in with 
the fashion, and adopts the opinions, the foundation for which he has 
never examined, or else sets to work to find out how much truth there 
is in the scandals. A fair and impartial investigation of facts usually 
results in the conviction that some people are very credulous and ex- 
cessively gullible in believing falsehoods. 

Scarcely one person in a hundred of those who so freely indulge in, 
and so keenly enjoy, the gossip and scandal about missionaries, realizes 
their need of human sympathy, or shows that fair play which teaches 
us that they are but human beings like ourselves. The men of busi- 
ness and leisure for every thing except their tongues are utterly un- 
able to understand the missionary's life, work, or purpose. Apart from 
the fact that a man who strives to obey the final and perhaps most 
positive command of the Great Founder of Christianity, to preach the 
Gospel to every creature, should win respect so far as he obeys that 
command, it is also most happily true that some of the very best, most 
conscientious, though quiet, work in the civilization of Japan has been 
done by missionaries. They were the first teachers; and the first 
counselors whose advice was sought and acted upon by the Japanese 
were missionaries, and the first and ripest fruits of scholarship the 
aids to the mastery of the Japanese language were and are the work 
of missionaries. The lustre shed upon American scholarship by mis- 
sionaries in China and Japan casts no shadow, even in the light of the 
splendid literary achievements of the English civil service. Besides 
this, a community in which the lives of the majority are secretly or 
openly at variance with the plainest precepts of the Great Master can 
not, even on general principles, be expected to sympathize very deeply 
with, or even comprehend, the efforts of men who are social heretics. 
It is hard to find an average " man of the world " in Japan who has 
any clear idea of what the missionaries are doing or have done. Their 
dense ignorance borders on the ridiculous. 

On the other hand, a few, very few, who call themselves missiona- 
ries are incompetent, indiscreet, fanatical, and the terror even of their 
good and earnest brethren. 

At present, in Yokohama, there are the edifices of the Established 


English Episcopal, the French Catholic, the Union Protestant, and 
native Christian churches. There is also a Jewish congregation. Be- 
sides the Governmental, the private Japanese, and the General Hospital 
of the foreigners, there is a Ladies' Benevolent Society. A well-kept 
and neatly laid out and ornamented cemetery, beautifully situated on 
the slope of the Bluff, in which sleep the men of many creeds and na- 
tions, tells many a sad tale of assassination, of murder, and of battle, 
which took place before the present peaceful residence of the Western 
strangers in Japan was won. The Russians, the Dutch, the English, 
and the French compelled the Japanese Government to build the tombs 
of the slain. Many a mother's darling, many a gallant soldier and 
sailor, who met his death from disease, accident, drowning, or excess, 
and many a broken-hearted exile lies here ; and more than one visit to 
this sad city of the dead has impressed me with the truth that most of 
the epitaphs are plain historical facts, free from sham and fulsome 
falsehood ; as though being free from the meretricious ornament that 
so often miserably accords with the blunt fact of death, the tombs 
had won the rare adornment of simple truth. 

' From the Yokohama of to-day, with its bustling energies, and old 
enough in its new life to have its cemetery, we shall glance at Yoko- 
hama as it was from its forgotten beginning, centuries ago, until A.D. 
1854, when a fleet of American steamers began the first epoch in the 
new life of Japan. 

On a small arm of the Gulf of Yedo, midway between its mouth 
and the capital of the empire, stood an insignificant little fishing vil- 
lage. Evidently it never possessed sufficient importance to be men- 
tioned, except casually, by Japanese historians or travelers. In its best 
days prior to 1854, it might have numbered a thousand inhabitants. 
Nearly all the men were fishers, or worked with the women in the rice 
swamps surrounding the village on all sides, and stretching toward the 
base of the Bluff. The great highway to Yedo passed through the 
town of Kanagawa, which lies on the opposite shore of the bay. Most 
probably from this fact, the village which supplied the travelers on 
the great road with fish was called Yokohama ( Yoko, across ; hama, 
strand). For centuries the simple inhabitants swept the sea with their 
nets, dug their mud swamps, planted their rice, eat their rude fare, 
lived their monotonous life, and died in the faith of Buddha and the 
hope of Nirvana. No seer ever prophesied greatness of Yokohama, 
but some places, like men, have greatness thrust upon them. When, 
on the evening of the 7th of July, 1853, the fleet of huge American 


steamers lay at anchor abreast of Uraga, a few miles distant, and the 
people of Yokohama saw the blazing beacon-fires and heard the breath- 
!><> ]iicfii^crs tell tin- talc of the wondrous ;i]>|>;iritioii of mighty 
ships moving swiftly without wind, tide, or oars, the first pulses of a 
new life stirred within them as they talked that night before their 
huts in the sultry evening. Their idea of a steamer, as I have heard 
it from their own lips, was, that these Western foreigners, who were 
not men, but half beasts, half sorcerers, had power to tame a volcano, 
condense its power in their ships, and control it at will. That night, 
as the spark-spangled clouds of smoke pulsed out of the fire-breathing 
smoke-stacks of the steamers, which were kept under steam in readi- 
ness for attack, many an eager prayer, prompted by terror at the aw- 
ful apparition, went up from the hearts of the simple people, who anx- 
iously awaited the issue of the strange visit. 

During all the eight days during which Commodore Perry's fleet 
lay at anchor, or steamed at will over their sacred waters, the survey- 
ing boats were busy extorting the secrets of the water, its danger and 
its depth. No drunken sailor roamed on the land, none of the quiet 
natives were beaten, robbed, or molested. The mighty mind of the 
gentle commodore extended to the humblest minutiae of discipline, and 
his all-comprehending genius won victory without blood. The natives 
had opportunity of gaining clearer ideas as to what sort of beings the 
strange visitors were. In those eight days even the proudest samurai 
were convinced of the power of the Western nations. Familiarity 
bred no contempt of American prowess, while for the first time they 
saw their own utterly defenseless condition. After delivering the let- 
ter with the proper pomp and ceremony to the high Japanese com- 
missioner at Uraga, and having for the first time in history gained 
several important points of etiquette in a country where etiquette is 
more than law or morals, the consummate diplomat and warrior, Per- 
ry, sailed away with his fleet July 17th, 1853. 

Commodore M. C. Perry inaugurated a policy in his dealings with 
the Japanese which all thoroughly successful foreigners in Japan have 
found the safest, quickest, and most certain means of success, in deal- 
ing with them, in order to win new concessions, or to lead them to 
higher reforms. Instead of demanding an immediate answer, he al- 
lowed them seven months to consider the matter, promising them at 
the end of that time to come again. During that period the authori- 
ties had time to consult, reflect, and to smoke an unlimited number 
of pipes, and all of these they did. 


When Perry, with an augmented fleet of nine steamers, returned 
again in February, the Japanese found him as punctilious, polite, per- 
severing, considerate, and as inflexibly firm as ever. Instead of mak- 
ing the treaty at Uraga, he must make it nearer Yedo. Yokohama 
was the chosen spot, and there, on the 8th of March, 1854, were ex- 
changed the formal articles of convention between the United States 
and Japan. Then followed the interchange of presents. The minia- 
ture telegraph was set up on shore over a space of one mile, and was 
worked for several days to the delight and wonder of admiring Japa- 
nese officials. The Lilliputian locomotive and train of cars caused un- 
bounded interest. American implements and mechanism of all de- 
scriptions were presented as evidences of American peace and good- 
will. Matthew Calbraith Perry achieved a triumph grander in results 
than his brother, Oliver Hazard Perry, on Lake Erie. He had met 
the enemy, and they were his friends. The Japanese returned the 
gifts with their best native productions, and amused their guests with 
wrestling matches. 

By the treaty of Yokohama, Hakodate in Yezo, and Shimoda in 
Idzu, were opened as ports of supply to the Americans. Shimoda, 
before it fairly began to be of much service, was visited by a terrific 
earthquake and tidal wave, that hurled a Russian frigate to destruc- 
tion, overwhelmed the town, sweeping back by its recession into the 
boiling ocean scores of houses, and about one hundred human beings. 
The eflluent wave plowed the harbor with such force that all the mud 
was scoured from the rocky bed. The anchors of ships could obtain 
no grip on the bare, slippery rock bottom, and Shimoda, being useless 
as a harbor, was abandoned. The ruin of Shimoda was the rise of 
Yokohama. By a new treaty, and concessions gained from the Japa- 
nese by Hon. Townsend Harris, Kanagawa (three miles across the 
bay from Yokohama) and Nagasaki were made open ports, not only 
of entry, but of trade and commerce. By the terms of the treaty, 
Kanagawa was opened July 1st, 1859. 

Kanagawa is situated on the western side of the Bay of Yedo, about 
sixteen miles from the capital. " Through it passes the great highway 
of the empire, along which the proud daimios and their trains of re- 
tainers were continually passing on their way to and from the capital. 
These belligerent young bloods were spoiling for war, and a trial of 
their blades on the hated hairy foreigners! Had Kanagawa been 
made a foreign settlement, its history would doubtless have had many 
more bloody pages of incendiaries and assassination than did Yoko- 


hama. Foreseeing this, even though considered by the foreign minis- 
ters a violation of treaty agreements, the Japanese Government chose 
Yokohama as the future port, and immediately set to work to render 
it as convenient as possible for trade, residence, and espionage. They 
built a causeway, nearly two miles long, across the lagoon and marshes 
from Kanagawa, so as to make it of easy access. They built the solid 
granite piers or " hatobas," which we have described, erected a custom- 
house and officers' quarters, and prepared small dwellings and store- 
houses for the foreign merchants. 

Before the opening of the harbor, several ships, with the pioneers of 
trade on board, lay in the harbor from Nagasaki and China, " eager to 
try the new port, and, of course, clamorous for instant accommodation 
and facilities." The merchants insisted on Yokohama, the ministers 
and consuls were determined on Kanagawa. The strife between the 
two parties lasted long, and left many roots of bitterness that are not 
yet entirely grubbed up ; but the merchants carried their point as is 
believed by all to-day to the advantage of foreign influence in Japan. 
The red tape which helps to weave a net of misleading and inaccurate 
statements in regard to Japan is not yet cut, as regards Kanagawa. 
We frequently read of the United States Consul and Consulate at 
Kanagawa. There has been neither there since 1861. Both are in 
Yokohama. Baron Hiibner's statement that Sir R. Alcock was " the 
official founder of Yokohama " is a ramble round the truth. Yoko- 
hama was settled in a squatter-like and irregular manner, and the ill 
effects of it are seen to this day. When compared with Shanghae, 
the foreign metropolis of China, it is vastly inferior to that " model 
settlement." To abridge a tedious story, the straggling colony of 
diplomats, missionaries, and merchants at Kanagawa finally pulled up 
their stakes and joined the settlement at Yokohama. The town grew 
slowly at first. Murders and assassinations of foreigners by the ruffian 
patriots who bravely attacked unarmed foreigners, usually from be- 
hind, were frequent during the first few years. The intermeddling of 
Japanese officials threatened to paralyze trade. The lion of civilization 
was threatened with death in a gigantic net-work of red-tape, in the 
length, redness, strength, and quantity of which the bakufu excelled 
the world. The first foreigners were not specially noted for good 
morals, sensitive consciences, sweetness of temper, nor for a hatred of 
filthy lucre, and the underhand cunning and disregard for truth which 
seems a part of official human nature in Japan (only ?) were matched 
by the cold-blooded villainy and trickery of the unprincipled foreign- 


ers of all creeds and nationalities. A favorite threat of atrabilious 
Frenchmen, blustering Russians, and petty epaulet-wearers of all sorts, 
when their demands were refused, was to strike their flag, go on board 
a man-of-war, and blow up the native town. Yokohama still stands, 
having survived bombardments in five languages. The Japanese offi- 
cials became so accustomed to this polyglot snobbery, that they ceased 
to regard its monotonous recurrence with feelings different from those 
evoked on beholding snuff-boxes drawn, or on hearing the terrific 
crash that followed. 

A less congenial and more expensive employment, at which native 
officials were kept busy, was the payment of outrageously unjust " in- 
demnities " a euphemism for civilized theft. A conflagration caused 
by a kitchen fire, a drunken squabble, an insult resulting in the death 
of a white -faced villain, terminated in the inevitable and exorbitant 
mulct. A sailor found dead drunk in the streets was the signal for 
sending up the price of revolvers one hundred per cent. Every for- 
eign suicide was heralded as an " assassination." 

A fire (November 22d, 1866), which laid nearly the whole foreign 
town in ashes, seemed to purify the place municipally, commercially, 
and morally. The settlement was rebuilt in a more substantial and 
regular manner. Banks, newspaper offices, hospitals, post-offices, and 
consulate buildings re-appeared as with new life. The streets were 
graded, paved, and curbed. The swamp was filled up. The Japanese 
village of Homura was removed across the creek. Fire companies 
were organized. A native police force was formed. The European 
steamships began to come to Yokohama, and the establishment of the 
Pacific Mail line of steamers, running monthly between San Francisco 
and Yokohama, was the final master-stroke that removed the future 
prosperity of Yokohama from the region of surmise to that of cer- 
tainty. Other steamers plied to Japanese and Chinese ports. Trade 
became firmly established. Missionaries unlocked the language, and 
made it acquirable. The settlement was purged of roughs and gam- 
blers. The amenities of social life began to appear, as ladies and chil- 
dren came in scores. Houses became homes. The solitary were set 
in families. Churches appeared with their beneficent influence. The- 
atres, concerts, and operettas gave recreation to the mind ; while row- 
ing, racing, athletic, cricket, and racket clubs, and clubs gastronomic 
and sociable, made the life of the bachelors less monotonous. Rifle 
companies kept the eye and hand in practice for the occasional hunts 
when game was plenty. The telegraph to Tokio and thence around 


the globe was opened and used. The railway to the capital, with its 
ten trains daily, became a familiar fact. Schools for children were es- 
tablished. The Eurasian children were gathered up by American la- 
dies and French nuns, to be reared in purity. Christian hymns were 
translated into Japanese, and sung to the tunes of Lowell and Brad- 
bury by native children. Teachers of music and languages sent out 
their circulars. The Sunday-school opened its doors. The family 
physician took the place of the navy surgeon. Yokohama now boasts 
of the season, like London. The last slow growth of such a colony 
the Asiatic Society, established for the encouragement of original re- 
search, and for the collection of information concerning the history, 
language, geography, and antiquity of Japan and parts adjacent has 
been established. It has already done much excellent work, and, 
though in a trading community, hopes to live. 

I have neither time nor space to speak of the wonders wrought in 
the Japanese town ; nor can I tell the story of how a fishing village 
of a thousand souls has become a city of fifty thousand people, with 
its streets lighted with gas ; rich stores, piled with silk, tea, bronzes, 
and curios of all kinds whither tourists flock, and naval officers mort- 
gage their pay for months to come : Japanese curios are as powerful 
as mercury to attract gold. The railway and station, the many promis- 
ing industries of all kinds, the native hospital, printing-offices, etc., 
etc., deserve description, but I must close this already tedious chapter 
by a summary of a few items of interest not referred to before. 

At present (1876) the foreign population of Yokohama is reckoned 
to be about twelve hundred residents, of both sexes and all ages. The 
men of the merchant marine, sailors, officers, on shore and ship duty, 
and temporary dwellers, make up a fluctuating population, which is 
seldom less than three and sometimes as many as six thousand. The 
Chinese population may number one thousand in Yokohama, and 
twenty-five hundred in Japan. In their hands are the deep things 
of finance. All the money-changers and brokers are Chinese, and 
any unexpected fluctuations in the money market are laid to their* 
charge. Those who are not brokers are " compradores," clerks, or 
useful artisans. As a class, they form the most industrious national- 
ity in Japan. They have their temple, cemetery, guilds, and benevo- 
lent association, but no consul or mandarin to protect or to grind 
them. The sight of the fat, well-dressed, cleanly Chinese, so well-oiled 
in his disposition and physique, so defiantly comfortable in his dress, 
forces a contrast between him and the Japanese. Some people con- 



sider the Chinaman as the man of superior race. In Yokohama's 
heterogeneous collection of humanity are several score of children in 
whose veins flows the blood of two continents. The Eurasian chil- 
dren, when illegitimate, are still citizens of Japan, in the eye of Japa- 
nese law ; but when born in wedlock, are citizens of the same country 
with their father. By the laws of Japan, marriage between Japanese 
and foreigners is perfectly legal, and several such marriages have been 
regularly contracted and solemnized. 

The Fourth Estate in Yokohama is a vast one. The English papers 
are, The Japan Herald ; The Japan Mail, daily and weekly; The 
Japan Gazette, daily. All these papers issue also a fortnightly or 
monthly mail summary. The French paper, I? Echo du Japan, is a 
daily. The Far East is a semi-monthly large pamphlet, of twelve 
pages, photographically illustrated, with letter -press descriptive of 
scenes and incidents in Japan. The Japan Punch, which hits the 
folly and furnishes the fun for the Yokohama public, is printed by 
lithography, and is a clever monthly production. 

Toward the future Yokohama may look cheerfully and with hope. 
So near the great capital, practically on the high-road of the empire, 
with a magnificent harbor, capable of unlimited improvements, with 
railroad and telegraphic facilities already in use, Yokohama's future 
must be one of steady prosperity. When Kobe was opened, bold 
prophets predicted the waning of Yokohama ; but their prophecies 
have long since been forgotten. New land is being reclaimed from 
the lagoons toward Kanagawa, and in time Kanagawa and Yokohama 
will be one city. The foreign population may not increase according 
to the New World ratio, but from all parts of the Sea Empire shall 
come the wealth and the sinew, the brain and the heart of New Ja- 
pan, to learn the sources of the power and superiority of the West- 
erns ; and, returning, the fathers shall teach their children to be wiser 
than they. Whatever be the changes of the future, Yokohama must 
continue to be the master-teacher and exemplar for good and evil of 
the civilization of Christendom in New Japan. 




January 2d, 1871. A frosty morning. Air keen, bracing, razor- 
like. Sky stainlessly clear. The Bay of Yedo glinting with unnum- 
bered sunbeams. Blue sky, blue water, blue mountains, white Fuji. 

The Yankee has invaded the Land of the Gods. He jostles the 
processions of the lords of the land. He runs a coach on the great 
highway, so sacred to daimios and two-sworded samurai. Here on the 
Bund stands the stage that will carry a man to the capital for two 
Mexican dollars. Of the regulation Yankee pattern, it is yet small, 
and, though seating three persons besides the driver, can crowd in five 
when comfort is not the object in view. A pair of native ponies on 
which oats are never wasted make the team. A betto (running foot- 
man and hostler), whose business is to harness the animals, yell at the 
people on the road, and be sworn at, perches, like a meditative chick- 
en, by one foot on the iron step. As for the driver, an Australian, 
who is recommended as " a very devil of a whip," he impresses me at 
once as being thoroughly qualified to find the bottom of a tumblerful 
of brandy without breathing. 

He is not only an expert at driving and drinking, but such an adept 
in the theology of the bar-room is he, and so well versed in orthodox 
profanity, that the heathen bettS regards his master as a safe guide, 
and imitates him with conscientious accuracy. The driver converts 
the pagan better than he knows. Indeed, it is astonishing what prog- 
ress his pupil has made in both theology and the English language. 
He has already at his tongue's end the names and attributes of the 
entire Trinity. 

Crack goes the whip, and we rattle along the Bund, past the Club- 
house, around the English consulate, past the Perry treaty grounds, 
and down Benten dori, through the native town. The shops are just 
opening, and the shop-boys are looping up the short curtains that hang 
before each front. The bath-houses begin business early. The door 
of one is shunted aside, spite of the lowness of the thermometer and 



decency. Out steps a man into the street as naked as when he step- 
ped out into the world. His native copper hue, like a lobster's, is in- 
tensified by the boiling he has just undergone. He walks in a self- 
exhaling cloud of auroral vapors, like a god in ambrosia. He deigns 
not to make his toilet while in sight, but proceeds homeward, clothes 
in hand. My pocket Fahrenheit marks four degrees below the freez- 

Our driver whips up the horses for sheer warmth, and we dash over 
the " iron bridge." A trifling bit of iron to our foreign eyes, but a 
triumph of engineering to the natives, who build of wood. We pass it, 
and then we are on the causeway that connects Yokohama with the 
great main road of the empire, the Tokaido. The causeway passed, 
and with foreign sights behind, real Japan appears. I am in a new 
world, not the Old. Every thing is novel. I should like to be Argus : 
not less than a hundred eyes can take in all the sight. I should like 
to be a poet to express, and an artist to paint all I see. I wish I knew 
the language, to ask questions. 

What a wonderful picture-book ! A line of villages are strung along 
the road, like a great illuminated scroll full of gay, brilliant, merry, sad, 

disgusting, horrible, curious, funny, de- 
lightful pictures. 

What pretty children ! Chubby, rosy, 
sparkling-eyed. The cold only made 
their feet pink, and their cheeks red. 
How curiously dressed, with coats like 
long wrappers, and long, wide, square 
sleeves, which I know serve for pock- 
ets, for I just saw a boy buy some rice 
cracknels, hot from the toasting coals, 
and put them in his sleeves. A girdle 
three inches wide binds the coat tight 
to the waist. The children's heads are 
shaved in all curious fashions. The 
Way the babies are carried is an im- 
provement upon the Indian fashion. 
The Japanese ko is the papoose re- 
versed. He rides eyes front, and sees 
YouugGirlcarryfogherBabyBrother. ^ ^^ ^ ^ mothei , 8 shoulder . 

Japanese babies are lugged pickapack. Baby Gohachi is laid on 
mamma's back and strapped on, or else he is inclosed in her gar- 



ment, and only his little shaven noddle protrudes behind his mother's 
neck. His own neck never gets wrenched off, and often neither head 
nor tiny toes are covered, though water is freezing. In the picture on 
the preceding page, the fat-cheeked baby is carried by a young, un- 
married girl, as I can tell by the way her hair is dressed. It is prob- 
ably an elder sister or hired servant. Her bare feet are on wooden 

Here are adults and children running around barefoot. Nobody 
wears any hats. As for bonnets, a Japanese woman might study a 
life-time, and go crazy in trying to find out its use. Every one wears 
cotten clothes, and these of only one or two thicknesses. None of the 
front doors are shut. All the shops are open. We can see some of 
the people eating their breakfast beefsteaks, hot coffee, and hot rolls 
for warmth ? No : cold rice, pickled radishes, and vegetable messes 
of all unknown sorts. These we see. They make their rice hot by 
pouring tea almost boiling over it. A few can afford only hot water. 
Some eat millet instead of rice. Do they not understand dietetics or 
hygiene better ? Or is it poverty ? Strange people, these Japanese ! 
Here are large round ovens full of sweet-potatoes being steamed or 
roasted. A group of urchins are 
waiting around one shop, grown 
men around another, for the luxury. 
Twenty cash, one-fifth of a cent, in 
iron or copper coin, is the price of a 
good one. Many of the children, 
just more than able to walk them- 
selves, are saddled with babies. They 
look like two-headed children. The 
fathers of these youngsters are cool- 
ies or burden - bearers, who wear a 
cotten coat of a special pattern, and 
knot their kerchiefs over their fore- 
heads. These heads of families re- 
ceive wages of ten cents a day when 
work is steady. Here stands one with 
his shoulder - stick (tembimbo) with 
pendant baskets of plaited rope, like 
a scale-beam and pans. His shoul- 
der is to be the fulcrum. On his daily string of copper cash he sup- 
ports a family. The poor man's blessings and the rich man's grief 

Coolie waitiug for a Job. 


are the same in every clime. In Japan the quiver of poverty is full, 
while the man of wealth mourns for an heir. The mother bears the 
bairns, but the children carry them. Each preceding child, as it grows 
older, must lug the succeeding baby on its back till able to stand. The 
rearing of a Japanese poor family is a perpetual game of leap-frog. 

The houses are small, mostly one story, all of them of wood, except 
the fire -proof mud -walled store -houses of the merchant. Most are 
clean inside. The floors are raised a foot above the ground, covered 
with mats. The wood-work is clean, as if often scrubbed. Yet the 
Japanese have no word for soap, and have never until these late days 
used it. Nevertheless, they lead all Asiatics in cleanliness of persons 
and dwellings. Does not an ancient stanza of theirs declare that 
" when the houses of a people are kept clean, be certain that the gov- 
ernment is respected and will endure?" Hot water is the detergent, 
and the normal Japanese gets under it at least once a day. For scrub- 
bing the floor or clothes, alkali, obtained by leeching ashes, is put in 
the water. 

The shop-keeper sits on his hams and heels, and hugs his hibachi 
(fire-bowl). What shivering memories I have of it ! Every Japanese 
house has one or more. It is a box of brass, wood, or delf. In a bed 
of ashes are a handful of coals. Ordinarily it holds the ghost of a 
fire, and radiates heat for a distance of six inches. A thermo-multi- 
plier might detect its influence further on a cold day. With this the' 
Japanese warm their houses, toast their fingers for incredibly long 
spaces of time, and even have the hardihood to ask you to sit down 
by it and warm yourself ! Nevertheless, when the coals are piled up 
regardless of expense, a genial warmth may be obtained. The shop- 
keepers seem to pay much more attention to their braziers than to 
their customers. What strikes one with the greatest surprise is the 
baby-house style and dimensions of every thing. The rice-bowls are 
tea-cups, the tea-cups are thimbles, the tea-pot is a joke. The family 
sit in a circle at meals. The daughter or house-maid presides at the 
rice-bucket, and paddles out cupfuls of rice. 

We pass through Kanagawa, a flourishing town, and the real treaty 
port, from which Yokohama has usurped foreign fame and future his- 
tory. We pass many shops, and learn in a half-hour the staple articles 
of sale, which we afterward find repeated with little variation in the 
shops all over the country. They are not groceries, or boots, or jewelry, 
nor lacquer, bronze, or silk. They are straw-sandals, paper umbrellas, 
rush hats, bamboo-work of all kinds, matting for coats, flint, steel and 



tinder, sulphur splints for matches, oiled paper coats, and grass cloaks, 
paper for all purposes, wooden clogs for shoes : fish and radish knives, 
grass-hooks, hoes, scissors with two blades but only one handle, and 
axes, all of a strange pattern, compose the stock of cutlery. Vegeta- 
ble and fish shops are plentiful, but there is neither butcher nor 
baker. Copper and brass 
articles are numerous in the 
braziers' shops. 

In the cooper shops, the 
dazzling array of wood-work, 
so neat, fresh, clean, and fra- 
grant, carries temptation into 
housekeepers' pockets. I 
know an American lady who 
never can pass one without 
buying some useful utensil. 
There are two coopers pound- 
ing lustily away at a great 
rain-tank, or sake-vat, or soy- 
tub. They are more intent 
on their bamboo hoops, bee- 
tles, and wedges than on their 
clothing, which they have 
half thrown off. One has 
his kerchief over his shoul- 

Coopers hooping a Vat. (By a pupil of HokusaL) 

The basket -maker 
The head-covering 

In Japan the carpenter is 

the shoe -maker, for the foot-gear is of wood, 
weaves the head-dress. Hats and boots are not. 
is called a " roof " or " shed." I remember how in America I read 
of gaudily advertised " Japanese boot-blacking," and " Japanese corn- 
files." I now see that the Japanese wear no boots or shoes, hence 
blacking is not in demand ; and as such plagues as corns are next 
to unknown, there is no need of files for such a purpose. The total 
value of the stock in many of the shops appears to be about five 
dollars. Many look as if one "clean Mexican" would buy their 
stock, good -will, and fixtures. I thought, in my innocence, that I 
should find more splendid stores elsewhere. I kept on for a year 
or more thinking so, but was finally satisfied of the truth that, if 
the Japanese are wealthy, they do not show it in their shops. The 


prosaic truth is that the people are very poor. Of course, being fresh 
from the splendor of the fine young fellows, the " princes " of the 
newspapers, in America, who were noted for their impressive ward- 
robe, dazzling jewelry, hotel-bills, and carriages, I could not believe the 
truth about Japan then. My glamoured eyes refused to see it. "I 
shall see the wealth, but not now," was my thought. 

Tugging up the steep hill and past Kanagawa, we dash over the 
splendid road beneath an arch of pines, some grandly venerable, some 
augustly tall, some like a tottering empire, glorious in decay, but many 
more scraggy and crooked. We pass all kinds of dress and charac- 
ters on the road. Now, our betto yells out to a merchant, who ambles 
along with a pack on his back tied over his neck. Our driver prays 
his God to damn some poor old priest who was not as nimble as he 
might have been forty years ago. Anon, the exponent of Christian 
civilization informs a farm laborer, trudging along, hoe on shoulder, 
that he will " cut the d d face off him " if he isn't spry. A gawky 
heathen, leading a pack-horse loaded with an unmentionable article, is 
made to know, by a cut of the whip over his neck, that he must move 
faster next time. The priest in his robes, brocade collar, and shaven 
head ; the merchant, in his tight breeches ; the laborer, with his bare 
legs ; the samurai, with his two swords and loose trousers ; the pil- 
grim, in his white dress, are all easily recognized. 

As for the beggars, we can not understand their " Chabu chabu ko- 
marimasu tempo danna san, dozo (Please, master, a penny ; we are in 
great trouble for our grub] ; but we comprehend the object of their 
importunity. They are loathsome, dirty, ragged, sore. Now I wish 
I were a physician, to heal such vileness and suffering. Who would 
care to do an artist's or a poet's work when the noblest art of healing 
needs to be practiced ? The children run after us. The old beggars 
live in straw kennels by the roadside. Some are naked, except dirty 
mats bound round them. The law of Japan does not recognize them 
as human : they are beasts. The man who kills them will be neither 
prosecuted nor punished. There lies one dead in the road. No! 
Can it be ? Yes, there is a dead beggar, and he will lie unburied, per- 
haps for days, if the dogs don't save the work from the coroner. 
"And the beggar died!" Will he be carried by angels to Abraham's 
bosom ? 

The driver reins up, and the horses come to a halt. We have stop- 
ped before a tea-house of whose fame we have heard, and man and 
beast are refreshed. The driver takes brandy, the betto tea, and the 


horses water. The first drinks from a tumbler, the second from a cup ; 
the four-footed drinkers must wait. Pretty girls come out to wish us 
good-morning. One, with a pair of eyes not to be forgotten, brings a 
tray of tiny cups full of green tea, and a plate of red sweetmeats, beg- 
ging us to partake. I want neither, though a bit of paper-money is 
placed ota the tray for beauty's sake. The maid is about seventeen, 
graceful in figure, and her neat dress is bound round with a wide gir- 
dle tied into a huge bow behind. Her neck is powdered. Her laugh 
displays a row of superb white teeth, and her jet-black hair is rolled 
in a maidenly style. The fairest sights in Japan are Japan's fair 

This tea-house has a history. Its proprietress is familiarly known 
among all foreigners who ride on the Tokaido, and sit on her mats in- 
side, or her benches in front beneath the trees, as " Black-eyed Susan." 
Her eyes deserve their renown, and her face its fame. Her beauty is 
known throughout the land. Many a story is told about princes and 
noblemen who have tried to lure her to gem their harem. She refuses 
all offers, and remains the keeper of herself and her fortune. Near by 
Black-eyed Susan's stands a clump of trees. It was near this place that, 
in 1863, poor Richardson lost his life (see Appendix). He sleeps now 
in Yokohama cemetery. It saddens us to think of it. 

Our solemn thoughts are dissipated in a moment, for the betto is 
watering the horses. He gives them drink out of a dipper ! A cup- 
ful of water at a time to a thirsty horse ! The animal himself would 
surely laugh, if he were not a Japanese horse, and used to it. 

" Sayonara !" (farewell) cry the pretty girls, as they bow profound- 
ly and gracefully, and the stage rolls on. We pass through villages 
of thatched houses, on which, along the ridge, grow beds of the iris. 
Between them appear landscapes new to eyes accustomed to grass 
meadows and corn-fields and winter wheat of Pennsylvania. Far and 
wide are the fallow fields covered with shallow water, and studded 
with rice-stubble. All the flat land is one universal rice-ditch. The 
low hills are timbered with evergreen. The brighter tints of the 
feathery bamboo temper the intensity of the sombre glory. Bamboo 
thickets, pine groves, and rice-fields these are the ever-present sights 
in Japan. A half-hour through such scenery, and the stage stops at 
Kawasaki (river-point) to change horses. We are to cross the Roku- 
go River in boats. The road bends at a right angle toward the water, 
and at each corner is a large tea-house, full of noisy, fat girls, anxious 
to display a vulgar familiarity with the stranger. Too close contact 



with hostlers, drivers, and the common sort of residents in Japan has 
made these, doubtless once modest and polite females, a pack of impu- 
dent wantons. 

I am not charmed by the too-willing charmers, and, declining the 
ever-proffered cup of tea, make my way down to the river, passing 
four toll-men, who squat on their knees at the receipt of custom, pil- 
ing on upright skewers the square-holed oval and round coins which 
the travelers deposit. At the river's edge, a flat-bottomed boat, crowd- 
ed with people of every class, with a horse or two on board, is coming 
hitherward, and one is just ready to push off. A few strokes of the 
pole, and we are over. The Japanese have used this river for centu- 
ries, and have never yet built a bridge. The company in the boat is 
sometimes rather mixed. It has not escaped Hokusai's pencil, who 
made an album of Tokaido sketches. He has jotted down at the side 

Crossing the Rokugo River at Kawasaki. (Hoknsai.) 

of his sketch the two characters signifying Kawasaki (river -point), 
which all travelers to Tokio know full well. Strange to say, the same 
river in Japan often has many local names. A Japanese geography 
rarely thinks it necessary to describe a river from source to mouth. 
The people hereabouts call this river the Rokug6, and the foreigners, 
who are quite sure to get Japanese names upside down, have corrupt- 
ed it into Logo, or, with apparent impiety, Logos, by which name it 
gravely stands on English maps. 

The stage not being over yet, I go into a straw hut, in which a fire 
warms twenty-four feet shod with rice-straw sandals, and the smoke 
of which inflames twenty-four eyes belonging to half that number of 
such specimens of humanity as constitute the bulk of Japan's popula- 
tion, and whom foreigners called " coolies." Two arms, two legs, a 


head, and trunk, when added together in an Asiatic country, do not 
produce the same sum that such factors would yield in America. 
With us a man is a man. In Asiatic countries he is a wheelbarrow, a 
beast of burden, a political cipher, a being who exists for the sake of 
his masters or the government. The men before me wear old, unlined 
cotton coats and straw sandals as their winter dress. In summer their 
wardrobe consists of straw sandals and a rag around their loins, in all 
about thirty-six linear inches of decency. Yet the tax-gatherer visits 
them, and even the priests glean in this stubble of humanity. Schools, 
law, thought, freedom, votes! These are unheard of, unimagined. 
Yet they were polite and kind. They offer the foreigner room by the 
h're, until the smoke drives him outside, where the loathsome beggars 
swarm and importune in the language of the houseless. The stage is 
ready, and, taking one good look at the bright new railway bridge by 
which hired English energy and loaned capital have spanned the river, 
I fold myself beneath the buffalo-robe, and the driver proceeds to tell 
me of the treat soon in store. 

The ghastly entertainment was at hand. Just before Shinagawa, 
the suburb of great Tokio, by the side of the road, is a small patch of 
grassy soil only slightly raised above the rice-ditches. Here, on a pil- 
lory about six feet high, two human heads were exposed, propped, and 
made hideously upright by lumps of clay under each ear. The ooz- 
ing blood had stained the timber, and hung in coagulated drops and 
icicles of gore beneath. A dissevered head absent from its body is 
horrible enough, but a head shaven in rnid-scalp with a top-knot on it 
has a hitherto unimagined horror, especially Japanese. 

How pleasant it would be to mention in this book nothing but the 
beautiful ! How easy to let our glamoured eyes see naught but beau- 
ty and novelty ! Why not paint Japan as a land of peerless natural 
beauty, of polite people, of good and brave men, of pretty maidens, 
and gentle women ? Why bring in beggars, bloody heads, loathsome 
sores, scenes of murder, assassins' bravery, and humanity with all no- 
bility stamped out by centuries of despotism ? Why not ? Simply 
because homely truth is better than gilded falsehood. Only because 
it is sin to conceal the truth when my countrymen, generous to be- 
lieve too well, and led astray by rhetorical deceivers and truth-smoth- 
erers, have the falsest ideas of Japan, that only a pen like a probe can 
set right. No pen sooner than mine shall record reforms when made. 
I give the true picture of Japan in 1871. 

So we pass these bloody symbols of Japan's bloody code of edicts, 


misnamed laws, by which she terrifies her people into obedience, and 
drive on through the narrow road past fine, large houses, clean, shin- 
ing, and pretty. What business is carried on in those edifices, splen- 
did in Japanese eyes, charming to a foreigner, and appearing, beside 
the ordinary citizen's dwelling, as palaces beside cottages ? Scores of 
them are ranged along the road. Shinagawa is the home of harlots, 
and here is the resort, not only of the ruffian, the rake, and the robber, 
but of the young men of the land. The finest houses in Japan belong 
to the woman in scarlet. The licensed government brothel, covering 
acres of land, is the most beautiful part of the capital. Oriental splen- 
dor a myth in the streets becomes reality when the portals of the 
Yoshiwara are crossed. 

Out in the blue bay stands the chain of forts built by the shogun's 
government after the arrival of Commodore Perry. Behind them 
rides at anchor the national navy of Japan, all floating the national 
flag a red sun on a white field. I easily recognize the old iron-clad 
Stonewall, now the Adzuma kuan. 

Half-past ten, and we sweep past the entrance to the British lega- 
tion. The red flag and crosses of England wave aloft, and the red- 
coated sentinel paces his round. Britons will long remember the le- 
gation at Takanawa. Incendiarism and gunpowder plots, murderous 
attacks by night, and three assassinations by daylight, have made this 
ground historic. " Killed from behind " are the words that have blot- 
ted the Japanese escutcheon with scores of stains as indelible as those 
on Bluebeard's key. Repeated washing in the fountain of indemnity 
and blood-money can never cleanse it. Not far from the British le- 
gation are the tombs of the Forty-seven ronins of immortal fame. 
We have passed the black gate at Shinagawa, and are in the city. I 
see to the left the Kosatsu a roofed frame of wood, on which hang 

7 O 

boards inscribed in Japanese with edicts centuries old, yet renewed by 
the present government. I can not read the Chinese ideographs, but 
I know the meaning of one of them the slanderous and insulting 
edict that denounces the Christian religion as a hateful and devilish 
sect, and hounds on every bigot and informer to ferret out the Chris- 
tians. This is the foreigner's welcome to Tokio in 1871. Does the 
Japanese capital answer to the description in the old geographies " a 
large, park-like city, with a population of 2,500,000 ?" I shall see. 
Suburbs are usually unprepossessing, and I reserve my judgment. At 
eleven o'clock we drive past the splendid Monzeki temple of the Shin 
sect of Buddhists and into the yard of the Great Hotel at Tsukiji. 




I WAS a stranger in a wilderness of a million souls. In half an hour 
I had left the yard of the huge caravansary, which the Japanese who 
had built it fondly believed to be a comfortable hotel, and was on my 
way to the distant quarter of the city in which was situated the Im- 
perial College. I walked by preference, as I had studied the map of 
Tokio, and some rude native pictures of certain landmarks while in 
America, and I now determined to test the soundness of my knowl- 
edge. I had that proficiency in speaking the language which five 
words badly pronounced could give. Every foreigner who sojourns 
in Japan for a week learns " Sukoshi matte " (wait a little), " Ikura ?" 
(how much?), "Doko?" (where?), "Yoroshiu" (all right), and "Ha- 
yaku" (hurry). With these on my tongue, and my map in my hand, 
I started. I passed through the foreign quarter, which is part of the 
old district called Tsukiji (filled-up land). It faces the river, and is 
moated in on all sides by canals. It is well paved, cleaned, and light- 
ed, contrasting favorably with the streets of the native city. The 
opening of Yedo as a foreign port cost a great outlay of money, but 
as a settlement was a failure, partly on account of high ground -rent, 
but mainly because the harbor is too shallow. Almost the only per- 
sons who live in Tsukiji are the foreign officials at the consulates, mis- 
sionaries, and a few merchants. I walked on, interested at seeing novel 
sights at every step, and at the limits passed a guard-house full of sol- 
diers of Mae' da, the daimio of Kaga. These kept watch and ward at 
a black gate, flanked by a high black paling fence. For years it was 
absolutely necessary to guard all the approaches to the foreign quar- 
ter, and keep out all suspicious two-sworded men. Incendiarism and 
the murder of the hated foreigners were favorite amusements of the 
young blades of Japan, who wished both to get the shogun in trouble 
and to rid their beautiful land of the devilish foreigners. Every ap- 
proach to Yokohama was thus guarded at this time. From the for- 
eign quarter into the Yoshiwara is but a step. Handsome two-storied 


wooden buildings, open to the street, were filled with pretty young 
girls, playing upon the samisen (banjo), having their hair dressed, sit- 
ting idle, or engaged at their toilet mirrors. Japanese male cynics say 
that a looking-glass is the mind of a woman. Handsome streets of 
neat houses extended to a distance of half a mile on each side, from 
which the same sounds proceeded. Why were these houses so fine ? 
Why so many young girls gathered ? Here were beauty, tender years, 
soft smiles, and luxurious houses. Here were little girls trained to do, 
when grown, as the older girls. For what purpose ? 

In every port open to foreigners in Japan, in a few of the other 
large cities, but not in daimios' capitals, there is the same institution. 
It is Japan's own. Before they opened any port to foreign trade, the 
Japanese built two places for the foreigners a custom-house and a 
brothel. The Yoshiwara is such a place. For the foreigners they 
supposed it to be a necessary good; for themselves, a protection to 
their people against ships' crews suddenly set free on land : they count- 
ed it a necessary evil. They believed the foreigners to be far worse 
than themselves. How far were they wrong ? 

We proceed through the quarter into streets lined with open shops. 
Privacy is not at a premium in Japan. One might live at home for 
years without understanding the mysteries of a lady's toilet. In Japan 
one learns it in a few days. Here is the human form divine bare to 
the waist, while its possessor laves her long black hair in warm water. 
She is about eighteen years old, evidently. Her mirror, powder-box, 
etc., lie about her. There is a mother shaving her baby's head. The 
chief occupation of the shop-keepers seems to be that of toasting their 
digits. I halt at a shop full of ivory carvings. Some of them are 
elegant works of art. Some are puns in ivory. Some are historical 
tableaux, which I recognize at once. These trophies of the geological 
cemeteries, or refrigerators, of Siberia are metamorphosed into what- 
ever form of beauty and grotesque humor the lively fancy of the 
carver has elected. The ivory in Japan was anciently brought from 
India, but in later times, through Corea, from the shores of the Arctic 
Ocean, where it is said modern dogs feed on the prehistoric meat of 
mammoths and mastodons frozen hard ages ago. Nearly all the ivory 
thus imported is put to a single use. It is carved into nitsukis, or large 
buttons perforated with two holes, in which a silken cord is riven, and 
which holds the smoking apparatus, the vade mecum, of the native. 
Flint, tinder, and steel in one bag; tobacco in another; tiny -bowled, 
brass-tipped bamboo pipe, in a case, are all suspended by the nitsuki, 



thrust up through the girdle. The one represented in the accompa- 
nying cut shows how a Japanese rider, evidently somebody, from his 
hempen toque, mounts a horse, 
. e., on the right (or wrong) 
side, while his betto holds the 

I pass through one street de- 
voted to bureaus and cabinets, 
through another full of folding 
screens, through another full of 
dyers' shops, with their odors 
and vats. In one small but 
neat shop sits an old man, with 
horn -rimmed spectacles, with 

the mordant liquid beside him, Nitsfiki, or Ivory Button, for holding a Gentle- 

man's Pipe aiid Pouch in his Girdle, 
preparing a roll of material for 

its next bath. In another street there is nothing on sale but bamboo- 
poles, but enough of these to make a forest. A man is sawing one, 
and I notice he pulls the saw with his two hands toward him. Its 
teeth are set contrary to ours. Another man is planing. He pulls 

the plane toward him. I notice a 
blacksmith at work : he pulls the 
bellows with his foot, while he is 
holding and hammering with both 
hands. He has several irons in 
the fire, and keeps his dinner-pot 
boiling with the waste flame. His 
whole family, like the generations 
before him, seem to " all get their 
living in the hardware line." The 
cooper holds his tub with his toes. 
All of them sit down while they work. How strange ! Perhaps "that 
is an important difference between a European and an Asiatic. One 
sits down to his work, the other stands up to it. 

Why is it that we do things contrariwise to the Japanese ? Are we 
upside down, or they ? The Japanese say that we are reversed. They 
call our penmanship " crab-writing," because, say they, " it goes back- 
ward." The lines in our books cross the page like a craw-fish, instead 
of going downward "properly." In a Japanese stable we find the 
horse's flank where we look for his head. Japanese screws screw the 

Pattern Designer preparing a Roll of Silk 
for the Dye-vat. 


other way. Their locks thrust to the left, ours to the right. The 
baby-toys of the Aryan race squeak when squeezed ; the Turanian gim- 
cracks emit noise when pulled apart. A Caucasian, to injure his ene- 
my, kills him ; a Japanese kills himself to spite his foe. Which race 
is left-handed ? Which has the negative, which the positive of truth ? 
What is truth ? What is down, what is up ? 

I emerge from the bamboo street to the T8ri, the main street, the 
Broadway of the Japanese capital. I recognize it. The shops are 
gayer and richer; the street is wider; it is crowded with people. 
Now, for the first time, comes the intense and vivid realization that 
this is Japan. Here is a kago, with a woman and baby inside. Two 
half-naked coolies bear the pole on their shoulders, and hurry along, 
grunting in Japanese. They bear sticks in their hands, and stop at 
every few yards, rest the beam on their sticks, and change shoulders. 
Here comes an officer on horseback, with a lacquered helmet on his 
head, and bound with white pads over his chin. His two swords pro- 
trude from his girdle, his feet rest flat in wide iron stirrups, curved up 
like a skate-runner, and have room to spare. His saddle has enormous 
flaps of gilt leather. He grasps the reins, one in each hand, at about 
six inches from the bit, holding his horse's head so that his lower lip 
is higher than the space between his ears. This is torture and grace 
combined. It is the stylish thing in Japan. The horse's mane is tied 
up in a row of stiff pompoons ; his tail is incased in a long bag of 
silk. Enormous tassels hang from the horse's shoulders. " There is 
a method in riding," is a Japanese saying. I believe it. 

Here are soldiers, so I judge. They are dressed in every style of 
hybrid costume. One, in a broadcloth suit, finishes with bare head 
and clogs on the feet. Another has a foreign cap, but a Japanese suit. 
This man has on a pair of cowhide boots, against which his kilt flaps 
ungracefully, reminding one of an American tycoon going to the well 
to draw water. This one has a zouave jacket and native kilt. The 
soldiers look as if they had just sacked New York, and begun on 
Chatham Street. The braves have a brace of stabbing tools stuck in 
their belt. They are the two-sworded men, and insolent, swaggering 
bullies many of them are. As they pass the foreigner, they give him 
black scowls for a welcome. They are chiefly the retainers of the dai- 
mios of Tosa, Satsuma, Choshiu, and Hizen, and are pride-swollen with 
victory over the rebels at Wakamatsu and Hakodate. It is ticklish to 
walk among so many armed fellows who seem to be spoiling for for- 
eign blood. Japanese swords are quickly drawn, and are sharp. No 


true man is really afraid when his enemy attacks in front ; but to be 
cut down by a coward from behind ! The thought makes my marrow 
curdle. With these foolish thoughts, I pass along for about a mile 
unscathed, for I have not yet learned the Japanese, and have read Al- 
cock. I arrive at the place renowned in all Japan. The Romans had 
their golden mile-stone, whence all distances throughout the empire 
were measured. Here, in the heart of Tokio, is Nihon Bashi (Bridge 
of Japan), whence, so it is said, all the great roads of the empire are 
measured. I had heard of it in America. All rural Japanese know 
of it. All expect, without warrant, to see a splendid bridge, and all 
are disappointed. It is a hump-backed wooden structure, a crazy mass 
of old fire-wood. It is lined on either side with loathsome beggars, 
asleep, gambling, playing, or begging. Mendicant priests in rags chant 
doleful prayers, pound stiff drums shaped like battledores. The vend- 
ers of all kinds of trash cluster around it. On the left, as we ap- 
proach from the south, stands the great Kosatsfi.* On the bridge, 
glorious Fuji is seen in the distance, and near by the towers, moats, 

* Three of these edicts, and a repetition of the fourth, are given, with dates : 

" Board No. I. Law. 

" The evil sect called Christian is strictly prohibited. Suspicious persons 
should be reported to the proper officers, and rewards will be given. 

"DAi Jo KUAN. 
"Fourth year Kei-o, Third month (March 24th-April 22d, 1868). 

"Board No. II. Law. 

" Persons uniting together in numbers for any object soever are called leag- 
uers ; persons leaguing together for the purpose of petitioning in a forcible man- 
ner are called insurrectionists ; persons who conspire to leave the ward or vil- 
lage in which they live are called runaways. All these acts are strictly prohib- 

"Should any persons commit these offenses, information must at once be giv- 
en to the proper officers, and suitable rewards will be given. DAI Jo KUAN. 

"Fourth year Kei-o, Third month (March 24th- April 22d, 1868). 

" Board No. Ill Law. 

" Human beings must carefully practice the principles of the five social rela- 
tions. Charity must be shown to widowers, widows, orphans, the childless, and 
sick. There must be no such crimes as murder, arson, or robbery. 


"Fourth year Kei-6, Third month (March 24th-April 22d, 186S). 


"With respect to the Christian sect, the existing prohibition must be strictly 

"Evil sects are strictly prohibited. 
"Fourth mouth of the First year of Meiji (November, 1868)." 


and walls of the castle. Up and down the canal cluster hundreds of 
boats, and a range of fire-proof store-houses line the banks. To the 
east is seen Yedo Bashi, or Bridge of Yedo. Turning up Suruga Cho, 
with Fuji's glorious form before me, I pass the great silk shop and 
fire-proof ware-houses of Mitsui, the millionaire ; I reach the castle 
moat and wall, and pass by the former mansion of Keiki, the last sho- 
gun. At noon, precisely, I arrive at the house of the American Superin- 
tendent of the Imperial College, to whom I bear letters and credentials. 
Behind black fences, high and hideous, I found the x bungalows of 
the dozen foreign teachers of the college. At the table of the su- 
perintendent I sat down to take " tiffin," as the noon meal in the East 
is called. Congratulations and the news were exchanged. At one 
o'clock the superintendent returned promptly to his work, and the new- 
comer remained to revel among the books, curiosities, and pictures of 
his genial host. When school is over, we are to walk out to TJyeno, 
to see the ruins of the battle of July 4th, 1868. Two hours of wait- 
ing pass quickly, and at a little after three o'clock, hearing a strange, 
noisy clatter, I run out by the gate to see what is going on. The 
school is being dismissed. What a sight for a school-master! Hun- 
dreds of boys, young men, and men of older growth, all on high wood- 
en clogs, are shuffling and scraping homeward. The noise of their 
clogs on the rough pebbles of the street makes a strange clatter. 
They are all dressed in the native costume of loose coats, with long 
and bag-like sleeves; kilts, like petticoats, open at the upper side; 
with shaven mid-scalps, and top-knots like gun-hammers. Men and 
boys carry slates and copy-books in their hands, and common cheap 
glass ink-bottles slung by pieces of twine to their girdles. Hands 
and faces are smeared with the black fluid ; but, strangest of all, each 
has two of the murderous -looking swords, one long and the other 
short, stuck in his belt. Symbols of the soldier rather than the schol- 
ar are these ; but the samurai are both. They compose the " milita- 
ry-literary" class of Japan. A "scholar and a gentleman" is our pet 
compliment ; but in Japan, to be " a scholar, a soldier, and a gentle- 
man," is the aspiration of every samurai. A wild-looking set they 
seem, but the heart kindles to think of the young life of this Asiatic 
empire being fed at the streams of the science and languages of Chris- 
tian nations. In spite of the smeared clothes and faces, the topsy-tur- 
vy top-knots, and average slovenliness, quite natural after six hours' 
school-boy's work, and quite different from the morning's spruceness, 
there were so many earnest faces that the school-master abroad was 


delighted, and felt eager to join in the work of helping on the rising 
generation and grand purpose of New Japan. 

" Education is the basis of all progress." The Japanese found it 
out. The Home Department of the new imperial government in 
1870 reorganized the school, originally founded by the bakufu, and 
engaged an English and a French teacher to give instruction. Years 
before, at Nagasaki, an American missionary, whose name I omit only 
in deference to his sensitive modesty, had taught Japanese young 
men, sending forth scores who afterward held high place in govern- 
ment counsels. They called him to take charge of their chief school 
in Tokio. In January, 1869, there were three French, three German, 
and five English teachers, and about eight or nine hundred scholars. 
It was called a " university ;" its proper name was a school of lan- 

The Japanese had very primitive ideas concerning the fitness of 
men to teach. The seclusion of Japan for nearly three hundred years 
had its effect in producing generations of male adults who, compared 
to men trained in the life of modern civilization, were children. Any 
one who could speak English could evidently teach it. The idea of a 
trained professional foreign teacher was never entertained by them. 
They picked up men from Tokio and Yokohama. The " professors " 
at first obtained were often ex-bar-tenders, soldiers, sailors, clerks, etc. 
When teaching, with pipe in mouth, and punctuating their instruc- 
tions with oaths, or appearing in the class-room top-heavy, the Japa- 
nese concluded that such eccentricities were merely national peculiar- 
ities. As for " Japanese wives," they were in many houses, and this 
the native authorities never suspected was wrong, or different from 
the foreign custom. In America there was read to me a paper on the 
subject, and I innocently marveled at the high tone of Japanese mo- 
rality. I found out afterward that the clause meant that the foreign 
teachers must not change mistresses too often. One American in To- 
kio enjoyed a harem of ten native beauties. Yet there were some 
faithful found among the faithless, and real, earnest teachers. Yet 
even these were not altogether comprehensible to their employers. 
One man, a Christian gentleman, but not painfully neat, especially in 
his foot-gear, having the habit peculiar to a certain great man of never 
lacing up his shoes, the Japanese director of the school solemnly in- 
quired whether the gentleman was angry at the officers. They sup- 
posed that he had some cause of complaint against them, and was 
showing it professionally by not lacing up his shoes. They were 


quite relieved on being informed that the unlaced boots neither fore- 
boded nor expressed dissatisfaction. 

It was a Herculean, nay, rather a seemingly impracticable, task to 
reduce that wild chaos of humanity to order and system. Here were 
gathered together a thousand male Japanese, of every age, and from 
every quarter of the empire. The middle-aged and old men, who 
wished to learn merely to read and translate, and not to speak, a for- 
eign language, were mostly in the "meaning-school." The younger, 
though some were over thirty, learned the alphabet, spelling, conversa- 
tions, writing, and, in the higher classes, geography, arithmetic, and 
simple history. The buildings were rows of sheds with glass win- 
dows, deal desks and seats, and unpainted wood partitions. 

A thousand top-knots, two thousand swords; as many clogs, as 
many suits of cotton dress ; a thousand pairs of oblique eyes that saw 
not as the eyes of the Teuton, the Frank, the Briton, or the American 
saw; a thousand rice-filled stomachs; a thousand brains filled with 
the ideas instilled by the old education of Japan ; a thousand pairs of 
arms trained to the sword, spear, and bow ; a thousand restless bodies 
that chafed under foreign school discipline all these together made 
what seemed chaos to the teacher fresh from the order and neatness 
of an American school. In the rickety rooms were fire-pots and bam- 
boo tubes doing duty as ash-boxes ; for at each recess, even during 
recitation, native scholar and teacher were wont to pull out their pipes 
and fill the tiny bowls to smoke. 

An old daimio's yashiki had been transformed by rows of sheds 
into the " University." According to Japanese etiquette, the officers 
entered at one door, the teachers at another, the scholars at a third. 
As the school began somewhere about 9 A.M., the scholars thronged 
along the stone walk. The scraping clatter of their wooden clogs and 
pattens was deafening. Each came to school wearing his two swords. 
Entering a large square room, each delivered his clogs to one of the 
half-dozen attendant servants, who, hanging them up, gave the owner 
a wooden check branded with a number. In another room, which 
looked like an arsenal, he took out his long sword, which was laid on 
one of the hundred or more racks, and checked as before. Hats they 
never wore, and so were never troubled to hang them up. There was 
not a hat in Japan a decade ago, at least in the cylindrical sense of 
the term. When the Westernized native does begin to wear one, he 
never knows at first where to put it when off his head, or remembers 
it when he goes away from where he laid it. 


In rainy weather, their paper umbrellas were stowed away and 
ticketed in the same manner as their clogs. Thus despoiled, in bare 
feet, or in mitten -stockings, with short sword in belt, from which 
wooden checks depended, the scholars entered their rooms. The 
teacher, not always early, began with his top-knots, and right grandly 
did the young eyes snap and the young ideas shoot. With such ma- 
terial the superintendent went on. With officers utterly unacquainted 
with their duties ; teachers of all sorts, and no sort at all ; undisciplined 
pupils, having to combat suspicion, ignorance, and, worse than all, 
Japanese vanity and conceit, he toiled on for years, the final result be- 
ing morally magnificent. In this school the scholars attended but one 
session, being divided into morning and afternoon scholars. Half of 
them messed or boarded in barracks built by the school ; but where 
they went at night, or how they spent their spare time, was no one's 

The mikado's government had been in operation in Tokio two years, 
but it was on any thing but a stable foundation. Conspiracies and 
rumors we had for breakfast, dinner, and supper. To-day, Satsuma 
was going to carry off the mikado. To-morrow, the " tycoon " was to 
be restored. The next day, the foreigners were to be driven out of 
Tokio, and then out of Japan. The city was not only full of the 
turbulent troops of the jealous daimios, but of hundreds of the Jo-i 
(or foreigner-haters), the patriot assassins, who thought they were do- 
ing the gods service, and their country a good, in cleaving a foreigner 
in the street. 

Before I left America, my students had told me by all means to 
take a revolver with me, as I might very likely meet ronins. I had 
one of Smith & Wesson's best. Few foreign residents ever went far 
from their houses without one, and many wisely kept indoors at night, 
except upon urgent duty. About fifty foreigners had been killed in 
Japan since 1859. For the safety of the teachers, about fifty armed 
men, called bette, were kept in pay. These knights were dubbed 
" Brown Betties" a vile pun, evidently by an American, through whose 
sad memory visions of that appetizing pudding flittered, as he mourn- 
ed its absence, with that of buckwheat-cakes, pumpkin-pies, turkeys, 
and other home delicacies. Horses were kept ready saddled, and the 
bette were always ready to accompany man or horse. It was impossi- 
ble to slip out without them. By a curious system of Japanese arith- 
metical progression, one bette accompanied one foreigner, four of them 
went with two, and eight with three. One would suppose that a sin- 



gle foreigner was in greater danger than when with a companion. 
The first afternoon I walked to see the ruins of Uyeno, once the glory 
of the city, with my host. I noticed one guard kept always with us. 
Not being counted a protege, I often went on my rambles alone. I 
was never harmed, though I got an occasional scowl, and was often 
obliged to pass along narrow and lonely streets, in which villainous- 
looking men, with two murderous-looking swords in their belts, were 

Among the many sites in the city from which one can get a view 
of Fuji from base to summit, are Atago yama, the top of Kudan zaka, 
and Suruga Dai, or elevation, so named from the fact that you behold 
the lordly mountain as though you were in Suruga itself. 

View of Fuji, from Suruga Dai, in Tokio. 

One afternoon I had been out walking to Asakusa and Uyeno with 
the only American teacher in the school at that time, and, after a long 
tramp, returned to recount what I had seen, and to consult my host. 
We agreed, the morrow being a holiday, to make an excursion to the 
lovely suburban retreat Oji, just outside, to the north of Tokio. After 
an evening among maps, note-books, and letters, as usual, I retired to 
rest. I was a sound sleeper, and noticed nothing during the night. 
About 4 A.M. my host appeared at my door, and, in a rather sepulchral 
tone, informed me that we could not go to Oji that day. There had 
been great changes during the night, and two teachers of the school 
had been cut down in the streets. 

I dressed hurriedly, and at our hasty breakfast by the lamp I learn- 
ed the story of the night. It was a simple one, but bloody enough. 
The two men had gone to Tsukiji, and there dismissed their guards. 
Presuming upon their supposed safety, and being wholly unarmed, 
they started to another part of the city, not far from the school. 
From their own story, they were quietly walking along one of the 
streets. The tallest of them suddenly received such a blow from be- 


hind that he fell, supposing that some one had knocked him down 
with a bamboo or club. Almost before he fell, his companion re- 
ceived a frightful cut on the opposite shoulder. Both then knew they 
had received sword - wounds, and they both started to run. The first 
one attacked ran up the street into an open paper-shop, begging the 
people to bind up his wounds, and send word to the college. The 
second, being the last on his feet, was overtaken by his pursuer, who 
dealt him a second sweeping two-handed blow, which cut a canal 
across his back from right shoulder to left hip, nearly eleven inches 
long. He gained the paper-shop, however, and begged the people to 
stanch his wounds with the thick, soft Japanese paper. After giving 
their address, and bidding the people send for a doctor and a school 
officer, they fainted away from loss of blood. They were, when I saw 
them, lying asleep at the paper- shop, native doctors having reached 
them and skillfully bound up their wounds. 

We left the college at half-past four, well armed, and accompanied 
by a servant carrying a lantern. We passed down the street skirting 
the castle moat to the Tori. It was very dark, and the city was in 
unbroken slumber. The only sight was the night roundsman pacing 
his beat, lantern in his left hand, and jingling an iron staff, surmount- 
ed by bunches of rings on the top, which he thumped on the ground 
at every few steps, crying out, "Hi-no yoje " (look out for fire). Here 
and there, in nooks and corners, we saw a beggar curled up under his 
mats. We finally reached the house in Nabe Cho (Rice-pot Street). 
We entered by a side door, and found in the back-room, sitting and 
smoking round the hibachi, six or eight interpreters and Japanese 
teachers from the college. Sliding aside the paper partitions, we look- 
ed into the front room, and, by the light of our lanterns, saw the two 
wounded men, one with head bandaged and face upward, the other 
lying prone, with back tightly swathed, asleep, and breathing heavily. 
We waited till daylight, when they woke up and told us their story. 
The skillful surgeon of the English legation arrived shortly after, 
commending highly the skill displayed by the native surgeons in bind- 
ing up the wounds. 

I spent several days and nights in the house, attending the patients. 
The wounds of one were of a frightful character ; that of the other was 
upon the head and shoulder-blade. The blow had grazed the skull, 
and cut deeply into the fleshy part of the back. It was not dangerous : 
in a few days he sat up, and the wound rapidly healed. For several 
days the weakness arising from the loss of blood and the wound-fever 


threatened to end the life of his companion. One of his ribs was 
nearly severed, and both gashes were long and deep. He had to be 
handled very tenderly. After seven days, however, they were able to 
be removed to their own house, and, as they had provided other nurses, 
my services were no longer required. 

I took the early stage on the morning of the attack, and carried 
the news to Yokohama. The mikado's Government, with astonishing 
energy, immediately took steps to discover the assassins, using the 
most strenuous exertions. Every one leaving the city or passing the 
gates was searched. Every samurai in Tokio was obliged to give an 
account of his whereabouts from sunset to sunrise of that evening. 
Every sword worn in Tokio was examined to discover blood -stains, 
which can not be removed except by grinding. Every sword -maker 
and grinder was questioned. I know of several small boys who felt 
highly elated at the great and rare honor of having a posse of pomp- 
ous government officials gravely examine their swords, according to or- 
ders. Nothing gave one so real an idea of the sincerity and ability of 
the Government, and its determination to reform barbarous customs, 
as their energy on this occasion. The stage which carried me to 
Yokohama was stopped at the Shinagawa guard-house by a man armed 
with a barbed hook, to examine any Japanese that might be within. 

The excitement among the foreigners in Tokio next morning was 
intense. Prophets went round prophesying that in a week Tokio 
would be deserted of foreigners. A certain consul posted up a notice 
jn a public place-^in a bar-room, I believe authorizing any citizen of 
his nationality, should any Japanese be seen laying his hand on his 
sword, " to shoot him on the spot." The most violent and inflamma- 
tory language appeared in the newspapers. Some hot-headed folks at 
Yokohama held a meeting, and resolved that the Japanese Government 
should disarm the samurai, by ordering the immediate abolition of 
the custom of wearing swords. Yokohama residents whose business 
brought them to Tokio, though belted and with two revolvers, saw in 
every Japanese boy or coolie an assassin. A nightmare of samurai, 
swords, blood, bleeding heads and arms, grave-stones, and grim death 
brooded over the foreigners. "The beaten soldier fears the tops of 
the tall grass." 

Amidst this panic of fear, two mild and gentle countrymen of mine 
one a missionary who had lived in Japan and among the people seven 
years, and another who for months had gone among them day and 
night unarmed opened my eyes. Even the sworded samurai became 


in my vision as harmless as trees walking. I saw that the affair, which 
had frightened some men out of their wits, concerned a gentleman 
about as much as a murder in Water Street, or the Five Points, con- 
cerns a law-loving citizen of New York, who attends quietly to his 
business. I soon put away my revolver, and began the study of facts 
relating to the many cases of " assassination " of foreigners in Japan. 
In every instance, since the restoration of peace after the troubles of 
the civil war, it was a story of overbearing insolence, cruelty, insult, 
the jealousy of paramours, native women, or avarice, or the effect of 
causes which neither fair play nor honor could justify. 

During my stay of nearly four years in Japan, several Europeans 
were attacked or killed ; but in no case was there a genuine assassina- 
tion, or unprovoked assault. I was led to see the horrible injustice of 
the so-called indemnities, the bombardments of cities, the slaughter of 
Japanese people, and the savage vengeance wreaked for fancied in- 
juries against foreigners. There is no blacker page in history than 
the exactions and cruelties practiced against Japan by the diplomatic 
representatives of the nations called Christian in the sense of having 
the heaviest artillery. In their financial and warlike operations in 
Japan, the foreign ministers seem to have acted as though there was 
no day of judgment. Of the Japanese servants kicked and beaten, 
or frightened to death, by foreign masters ; of peaceable citizens knock- 
ed down by foreign fists, or ridden over by horses ; of Japanese homes 
desolated, and innocent men and women, as well as soldiers, torn by 
shells, and murdered by unjust bombardments, what reparation has 
been made ? What indemnity paid ? What measures of amelioration 
taken for terrible excess of bloody revenge at Kagoshima and Shimo- 
noseki ? What apology rendered ? For a land impoverished and torn, 
for the miseries of a people compelled by foreigners, for the sake of 
their cursed dollars, to open their country, what sympathy ? For their 
cholera and vile diseases, their defiling immorality, their brutal violence, 
their rum, what benefits in return ? Of real encouragement, of cheer 
to Japan in her mighty struggle to regenerate her national life, what 
word ? Only the answer of the horse-leech for blood, blood ; and at 
all times, gold, gold, gold. They ask all, and give next to nothing. 
For their murders and oppressions they make no reparation. Is 
Heaven always on the side of the heaviest artillery ? 




THE temple of Kuanon at Asakusa is to Tokio what St. Paul's is 
to London, or N6tre Dame to Paris. The chief temple of the city, 
the most popular religious resort, one never sees the Japanese capital 
till he sees Asakusa. Like N6tre Dame, it is ancient, holy, dirty, and 
grand, with pigeons and priests, and bazaars and book-stalls near by 
to match. 

Asakusa is now the name of a district of the city, which anciently 
was a village. The temple is about three miles from the centre of 
the castle, and two from Nihon Bashi, and at the time of its erection 
was a remote suburb. It is but a short distance from the river, and 
Asakusa bridge and Asakusa ferry have been made chiefly for the 
convenience of the pious, gay, and curious, to cross the Sumida River 
to visit the great temple, gardens, and pleasure-grounds, many acres 
in extent. These latter a Japanese temple must always have, whether 
Buddhist or Shinto. In them are fairs, refreshments, booths, eating, 
smoking, dancing, and every gay sport and pleasure known. To the 
Japanese mind there is no incongruity in this placing a temple cheek 
by jowl with a theatre. To cast his cash in the box of offerings, to 
pray, are but preludes to uproarious mirth or sedate enjoyments. Re- 
ligion and innocent pleasure join hands in Japan. Are the Japanese 
wrong in this ? 

Two grand entrances invite the visitor. One opens to the river. 
The main approach forms the terminus of an avenue that traverses 
the city, and joins the broad street fronting Asakusa at right angles. 
Up and down this street, on either side, for rods, are restaurants and 
houses where the famed singing-girls of Tokio make music, song, and 
dance. The path to the temple is of stone, twelve feet wide, with 
side pavements, upon which are ranged hundreds of booths having on 
sale a gorgeous abundance of toys, dolls, and every thing to delight 
the eyes of babydom. Perpetual Christmas reigns here. "Every 



street in Paris is like Broadway," said a French mademoiselle to a 
New York lady. Every day at Asakusa is a festival; but on the 
great matsuris, or religious holidays, the throng of gayly dressed hu- 
manity, of all ages, is astonishing. Every. one in Japan has heard of 
Asakusa. One never fairly sees open-air Japanese life, except at a 
matsuri. There is nothing strange, however, to the Japanese mind 
in this association of temples and toy-shops. The good bonzes in 
their sermons declare, as the result of their exegesis and meditations, 
that husbands are bound to love their wives, and show it by allowing 
them plenty of pin-money and hair-pins, and to be not bitter against 
them by denying them neat dresses and handsome girdles. The 
farmer who comes to town with his daughter, turns from prayer to 
the purchase of pomatum or a mirror. Every sort of toy, game, hair- 
ornaments in illimitable variety ; combs, rare and beautiful, and cheap 
and plain ; crapes for the neck and bosom ; all kinds of knickknacks, 
notions, and varieties are here ; besides crying babies ; strings of beads 

for prayer; gods of lead, brass, 
and wood ; shrines and family 
altars, sanctums, prayer - books, 
sacred bells, and candles. 

Chapels and special shrines, 
many of them the expiatory gifts 
of rich sinners, lie back of' the 
booths on each side of the road- 
way. On their walls hang votive 
tablets and pictures of various 
sorts. In one of the booths, an 
old artist, with his two brushes 

Artist at Work. "* one hand > is P ain ting one. 

His cheap productions will sell 

for five or ten cents. He looks as though he were laughing at his 
own joke, for his subject is a pictorial pun on the word " fool " (baka : 
ba, a horse ; &a, a stag).* 

* The allusion is to the act of the Chinese prime minister at the court of the 
Chinese emperor, who was the son of the illustrious builder of the Great Wall. 
He declared that a stag could be called a horse, and a horse a stag. The courtiers 
were compelled to obey him. This is the origin of the Japanese word baka, which 
the Japanese urchins sometimes cry at foreigners, and one of the first words the 
latter learn to throw at the natives. The particular digital gesture of sticking 
the left forefinger in the left side of the mouth is the Japanese equivalent of the 
soliloquy, " What a fool I am !" or the interrogation, " You think I'm a fool, don't 


The incense of smoldering " joss-sticks "* is wafted outward, and 
blends with the savory odors of baking -sponge and griddle -cakes, 
roasting nuts, and the disgusting smell of cuttle-fish fried in oil, made 
from sesame (Sesamum Orientalis). I never knew till I arrived in 
the Land of the Gods why the door of the cave of the Forty Thieves 
opened so easily when AH Baba uttered the potent words, "Open 
sesame." I know now. Let any one get ten feet to windward of a 
frying-pan full of sesame oil, and he will find it strong enough to 
open twenty doors. There, two lusty fellows are pulling away at a 
colossal rope of barley-sugar candy, now stretching, now twisting, 
now doubling, until the proper consistence and fibre are obtained. 
Down on the ground, at intervals, we find an old woman, or a young 
girl, selling what seem to be little slips of frayed wood, which, dropped 
on water, open into surprising forms of beauty. The uniform trifles 
unfold into variety, displaying a flower, a boat, a tree, a bird, a rat, 
a fisherman, a man, Fuji, a bottle, a cup, a bug, an animal. Some are 
jokes and comic pictures. 

Before the temple proper stands a colossal structure, serving merely 
as a gate-way, of red painted wood, almost seventy feet high. Facing 
us on either side as we enter are the high colored demons Ni-6 (two 
kings), whom we must propitiate. Each is higher than Goliath of 
Gath: one is green, and the other red. "As ugly as sin," is faint 
praise of their hideousness. Their faces and muscles are contorted 
into fanciful corrugations, and their attitude is as though they were 
going to transfix us heretics. Fastened to the grating in front of them 
are straw sandals, such as laborers and rustics wear. Some of these 
are big enough to shoe a megatherium. "They are hung up by people 
with sore feet, to propitiate the demons and to seek recovery. In 
front of the gate and under it, in two rows, sit pious beggars, mostly 
women, who beat on hollow shells of wood, like enormous stale clams 
or gaping sleigh-bells, and say prayers for their donors at a low price. 
The faithful drop a few iron cash, or a single copper, to one or more 
of these hags as they pass on. 

Passing within the gate, we are in the temple yard. To the right 
is a huge lavatory, the people washing their hands, and rinsing their 

you ?" The artist is thinking how foolish he is thus to spend his days in painting 
cheap pictures for a precarious means of subsistence. He is thus caricaturing 

* Joss is the Chinaman's pronunciation of the Portuguese word Deo Latin, 



mouths, preparatory to worship. A pagoda rises to the right with its 
seven stories, its heavy eaves fringed with wind-bells, its beams tipped 

with carvings, and its roof 
terminating into a projec- 
tion called the kiu-do (nine 
rings), resembling an enor- 
mous copper turning just 
rolled from the lathe, or a 
corkscrew such as might be 
used to uncork a columbiad. 
To climb to the top is to 
run the risk of dislocating 
the neck, and the view does 
not repay. In time of se- 
vere earthquake, this pago- 
da spire will vibrate like a 
plume on a helmet. Of 
course, in the picture, the 
artist must bring in the 
snow-white cranes, and Fuji. 
On the top is the jewel, or 
sacred pearl, so conspicuous 
in Japanese art and symbol- 
ism, and which, on the coins 
and paper money,the dragon 
ever clutches in his talons. 

On my left stands a large plain frame of wood, on which hang tal- 
lies, or tablets, inscribed with names and sums of money. They are 
those of subscribers to the temple, and the amount of their contribu- 
tions. One, five, and ten dollars are common gifts, and the one hun- 
dred-dollar donor is honored with a larger amount of shingle to ad- 
vertise his religion. Several old women have stands, at which they 
sell holy beans, pious pease, and sanctified rice. These are kept ready 
in tiny earthen saucers. The orthodox buy these, and fling them to 
the cloud of pigeons that are waiting on the temple eaves, and fly, 
whirring down, to feed. Ten thousand sunbeams flash from their 
opaline necks as their pink feet move coquettishly over the ground. 
Two enormous upright bronze lanterns on stone pedestals flank the 
path, and on these flocks of pigeons quickly rise and settle again. 
These pigeons have their home, not only without but within the tem- 

Pagoda Spire, or Kin-do. (Nishiki-ye.) 


pie, over the very altars of Great Shaka. Even the pigeon hath found 
a rest where she may lay her young, even thine altars, Great Shaka. 
Their cooing blends with the murmurs of prayer, and the whirring of 
their wings with the chant of the bonzes. 

Besides the pigeons, there are two sacred Albino ponies kept in a 
stable to the left. They are consecrated to the presiding deity, Kua- 
non, the God of Mercy. A young girl has the care of them, and they 
are fed by the pious, who, as a religious and meritorious act, buy the 
beans and pease with which the animals are fed. 

The most imposing feature of a Japanese temple is the roof of 
massive black tiles, sweeping up in a parabolic curve of the immense 
surface, which make enormous gables at the side. One is impressed 
with the solidity of the timbers and supports, which are set firmly but 
loosely in stone sockets, and defy the earthquake in a manner that re- 
calls ^Esop's fable of the oak and the reed. We ascend the broad cop- 
per-edged steps to the broader porch, and are on the threshold of the 
great pagan temple, so holy, so noisy, so dirty. Within its penetra- 
lium, we try to feel reverent. How can we, with a crowd of eager, 
curious, dirty faces, with dirty babies behind them, with unclean pig- 
eons whirring above us to the threatened detriment of our hats ? With- 
in is a chaos of votive tablets, huge lanterns, shrines, idols, spit-balls, 
smells, dust, dirt, nastiness, and holiness. Immediately within the door 
stands a huge bronze censer, with a hideous beast rampant upon it. 
He seems maddened by the ascending clouds of irritating incense 
that puff out of numerous holes around the edge. The worshipers, 
as they enter, drop an iron or copper cash in the lap of the black- 
toothed crone who keeps the sacred fuel, put a pinch in one of the 
holes, and pass in front of the altar to pray. Around the top of the 
censer are the twelve signs of the Japanese zodiac, in high relief. 
These are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, serpent, horse, goat, mon- 
key, cock, dog, hog. 

The great main altar is protected in front by an iron wire screen. 
Each worshiper, before praying, makes a " heave-offering " of a hand- 
ful of cash into the huge coffer before the altar. Occasionally one, 
with pious intent, throws what we would call a spit-ball at the screen. 
What an idea ! The worshiper writes out his petition, chews it to a 
pulp in his mouth, and throws it at the idol. If it sticks, the omen is 
good, the prayer is heard. Hearing, then, depends on the softness of 
the mass, or the salival ability and dexterity of the thrower. Some 
of the images in the outer shrines are speckled all over with these out- 


spittings of pious mouths. The coins and balls might injure the al- 
tar furniture and golden idols, if not protected. 

The space opposite the altar is filled by praying people of every 
sort. Mothers, maidens, and children, old men and boys, samurai and 
merchant and farmer, country boors, city swells, soldiers in French uni- 
form with sword-bayonets at their side, a la Paris, all fling the coin, 
bow the head, rub the hands above the head. Many use strings of 
beads, like the Roman Catholics. Prayers at the main altar over, the 
devotee may visit one or more of the many side shrines within the 
building. To the right sits the ugly and worn-out god Binzuru (one 
of Buddha's original sixteen disciples), reputed to cure diseases. There 
is a mother with two children rubbing the dirty old wooden head and 
limbs, and then applying the supposed virtue to their own bodies by 
rubbing them. The old idol is polished greasy and black by the at- 
trition of many thousand palms. His nose, ears, eyes, and mouth have 
long since disappeared. We warrant that more people are infected 
than cured by their efforts. 

To the left is a shrine, covered in front by a lattice, to the bars of 
which are tied thousands of slips of paper containing written prayers. 
Flanking the coffer on either side are old men who sell charms, printed 
prayers, beads, prayer-books, and ecclesiastical wares of all sorts. Vo- 
tive tablets are hung on the walls and huge round pillars. Here is 
one, on which is the character, cut from paper, for " man " and " wom- 
an," joined by a padlock, from a pair of lovers, who hope and pray 
that the course of true love may run smooth, and finally flow like a 
river. Here is one from a merchant who promises a gift to the tem- 
ple if his venture succeeds. Scores are memorials of gratitude to 
Kuanon for hearing prayer and restoring the suppliant to health. The 
subject of one picture is the boiler explosion on the steamboat City of 
Yedo, which took place in front of the foreign hotel in Tsukiji, Au- 
gust 12th, 1870, in which one hundred lives were lost. Only a few 
days ago, in Yokohama, I saw the infant son of the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. 
Comes, my fellow-country people, who, with a little English girl, were 
the only foreigners killed. The devotee was saved by the great mercy 
of Kuanon, and hangs up the tablet, as a witness of his gratitude, and 
Kuanon's surpassing favor. Many are from sailors who have survived 
a storm. On the wire screen hang scores of men's greasy top-knots, 
and a few braids of women's hair, cut off on account of vows, and of- 
fered to the honor of Kuanon. Perhaps the deity sees the heart that 
made the offering, and not the rancid and mildewed grease. Above 



are splendid carvings and paintings of angels. The Buddhist angels 
are always feminine. Among the crowd of religious emblems, there 
stares at you a framed picture of the Pacific Mail Steamship China as 
an advertisement, and near the door of exit, at the left, stands an im- 
mense mirror in a dazzling gilt frame. It is one of the sensational 
attractions to the vulgar, and helps to make up the catchpenny collec- 
tion of miscellanies in this rich temple, whose real estate covers many 
acres of valuable ground. 

Beyond the great space devoted to the public are the various altars 
and gilt images of the deities, sages, and saints of the Buddhist pan- 
theon and calendar. Candles burn, incense floats, and the sacred books 
repose here. The privileged faithful can, for a fee to the fat priests 
who sit behind their account-books, come within the iron wire screen, 
and, kneeling on the clean matting in front of the great altar, may 
pray, or read or chant sacred books, canonical or liturgical ; or, having 
a vow to a particular deity, or wishing to invoke the intercession of a 
special saint, may enter, to kneel remote from the crowd. 

It seems curious, even in Japan, to see men dressed in foreign 
clothes, praying before the gilded and hideous idols, bowing down 
to foxes and demons, and going through all the forms of paganism. 
Clothes do not make a Christian, and yet to our narrow vision there 
seems no agreement between a high hat and a Buddhist temple, no 
concord between a black-cloth coat and an idol in ancient robes. 

We leave the temple and descend the steps, glad to get out into 
the only true God's fresh air. From the unnature of superstition to 
the purity of nature, from the pent-up closeness of the priests' temple 
into the boundless freedom of God's glorious creation, how welcome 
the change ! It stirs the pulses of the divine life within us to behold 
how priestcraft and sanctified avarice and blind superstition of ages 
have united, and then to remember how One said, "Have faith in 

To the left of the temple are gardens famed for their displays of 
flowers in season the plum-blossoms in February, cherry blooms in 
April, the lotus in July, azaleas in summer, chrysanthemums in Octo- 
ber, camellias in December, and evergreens always. Here are dwarfed 
trees in every shape. Fuji appears over and over again in miniature. 
Tortoises, cats, male foreigners with hats, and females in crinoline, 
houses, wagons, and what not, appear in living forms of green. Tiny 
trees, an inch or two high, balmy pines, oaks and bamboo, cacti, 
striped -grass, rare plants of all varieties known in Japan, are here. 


An open chrysanthemum, the crest of the emperor, is emblazoned on 
all the barracks of the soldiers, on their caps, buttons, and banners, 
and on all buildings devoted to governmental purposes. 

In the cultivation of these flowers the native gardeners excel. In 
their limited specialties, the Japanese florists distance those of any 
other country. The borders of the Asakusa gardens are made of 
clipped tea-plants. Dwarfing, unnatural local enlargement, variegation 
of leaf and petal, the encouragement of freaks of nature by careful 
artificial selection these are the specialties of the natives of Nippon, 
which have been perfected by the hereditary patience, tact, and labor 
of a thousand years. The guild of florists in Tokio is large and 
wealthy. As the florist father, so is the son. Some of the streets of 
the city are noted for their floral displays and fairs. These are often 
given at night, the street being lighted by candles, as in the picture. 

The temple and the gardens are not the only sights at Asakusa. 
The antiquary may revel in deciphering the scores of inscriptions in 
Sanskrit, Japanese, and Chinese. Most of these are commemorative 
of religious events; some are prayers, some are quotations from ca- 
nonical books, some are sacred hymns. The stones are of granite, 
of slate, and of gray-stone. Bronze and stone images of Buddha are 
numerous ; some with aureole, and finger lifted ; some with hands or 
legs crossed, and thumbs joined meditatively. All wear the serene 
countenance of the sage in Nirvana. Around the base of nearly all 
are heaps of pebbles, placed there as evidence of prayers offered. In 
one shrine little earthen pots of salt are placed as offerings. A " pray- 
ing machine" a stone wheel in a stone post stands near. In one 
octagon temple are ranged the stone effigies of the five hundred origi- 
nal disciples of Buddha. Again we light on a crowd of stone idols, 
on which are pasted bits of paper, containing a picture or a prayer. 
Some of them are as full of labels as an apothecary's shop. Many 
have smoking incense-sticks before them, stuck in a bed of ashes accu- 
mulated from former offerings. In one building to the south-east of 
the main temple is a curious collection of idols, which attract attention 
from the fact of their being clean. 

Three idols, representing assistant torturers to Ema, the Lord of 
Hell, painted in all colors and gilded as gorgeously as cheap ginger- 
bread, stand in theatrical attitudes. One wields a sword, one a pen, 
and one a priest's staff. All have their heads in an aureole of red 
flames. The feet of the first, a green monster like a deified caterpillar, 
rests his foot on an imp of the same color, having two clawed toes on 


his feet, and two fangs in his mouth. Under the second writhes a 
flesh-colored devil, holding up an ink-stone, ready for the use of the 
idol, who may be a Japanese Saturday Reviewer. The third, with an 
indigo face, having a priest's staff, treads on a sky-blue devil. In the 
middle of the stone-floored room is a revolving shrine, having many 
closed doors, and containing sacred treasures of some sort. All over 
the crowded grounds are tea-booths with the usual charcoal fire, copper 
boiler, kettle, cup-rack, sweetmeats, and smiling, powdered, well-dress- 
ed damsel, who invites the passer-by to rest, drink a cup of tea, and 
part with a trifle as gift. 

At the north end are ranged the archery galleries, also presided over 
by pretty black-eyed Dianas, in paint, powder, and shining coiffure. 
They bring you tea, smile, talk nonsense, and giggle; smoke their 
long pipes with tiny bowls full of mild, fine-cut tobacco; puff out 
the long white whiffs from their flat-bridged noses ; wipe the brass 
mouth-piece, and offer it to you ; and then ask you leading and very 
personal questions without blushing. The bows are of slender bam- 
boo strips, two feet long, with rests for the shaft. The arrows are of 
cherry-wood, six inches long, bone-tipped, and feathered red, blue, or 
white. Two or three targets hang in front of a square drum, flanked 
by red cushions. A sharp click on the hard target, the boom of the 
drum, or the deadened sound of the struck cushion, tell the grades of 
success. Full-grown, able-bodied men are the chief patrons of these 
places of pleasure, and many can find amusement for hours at such 

Let no one visit Asakusa without seeing the so-called " wax-works," 
though there is very little wax in the show. In one of the buildings, 
to the rear and left of the main temple, are thirty-five tableaux, in life 
size figures, of the miracles wrought by Kuanon, or wondrous events 
in the lives of her pious devotees. There are thirty-three great tem- 
ples in Japan, dedicated to Kuanon, the Goddess of Mercy. Pious pil- 
grims often make the pilgrimage, visiting each of these shrines. The 
tableaux at Asakusa are thought by many foreign critics to excel in 
expression the famous collection of Madame Tussaud in London, an 
opinion which the writer shares. They are all the handiwork of one 
artist, who visited the most celebrated shrines of Kuanon, and, struck 
with the marvelous power and mercy of the god, wished to show to 
the youth of his country the benefit of trusting in and praying to 
him or her. The figure of Kuanon is, in some representations, like 
that of a gentle and lovely lady. In the outside tableau, the image of 


Kuanon is drawn out in public to stay a plague, which is accomplish- 
ed by the mercy and favor of the god. In the first tableau inside, a 
learned lady prays to Kuanon, and is heard. The second tableau rep- 
resents Kuanon appearing in the form of a beautiful woman to reward 
a diligent priest ; the third, a young girl suddenly restored to health 
by the favor of Kuanon ; the fourth, Kuanon appearing in the form 
of a little peasant girl to a noble of the mikado's court ; the fifth, a 
hungry robber desecrating the temple ; and a certain suggestive paint- 
ing to the left, in which demons and a red-hot cart, with wheels and 
axles of fire, are pictured above the robber, tells what is to become of 
him. In the sixth, a noble of the mikado's court overcomes and binds 
the thunder-god, or demon, through the power of Kuanon. In the 
seventh, a woman is saved from shipwreck because she sung a hymn to 
Kuanon during the tempest. In the eighth, a devout priest, fearing 
yet bold, goes to talk to Ema, the Lord of Hell. The ninth repre- 
sents an old man, one of the Hojo family, writing a prayer-poem. 
The tenth represents a pious damsel, who worshiped Kuanon, never 
killed any animals, and saved the life of a crab which a man was go- 
ing to kill : afterward, a snake, transforming itself into human shape, 
came to seize her, but a multitude of grateful crabs appeared and res- 
cued her, biting the reptile to death : this was by the order of Kua- 
non. In the eleventh, a devout worshiper, by prayer, overcomes and 
kills a huge serpent that troubled the neighborhood. In the twelfth, 
a diligent copyist of the sacred books beguiles his time by rewarding 
little children with cakes for bringing him pebbles, for every one of 
which he transcribes a character. The baby on the back of the little 
girl is asleep ; and the imitation of baby-life is wonderful, and in re- 
spect to one or two details more truthful than elegant. In the thir- 
teenth, Kuanon, having appeared on earth in female form, goes to 
heaven, taking the picture of a boy, who afterward grows up to be a 
celebrated priest. In the fourteenth, a pious woman falls from a lad- 
der, but is unhurt. In the fifteenth, a man suffering grievously from 
headache is directed to the spot where the skull which belonged to 
his body in a previous state of existence is being split open by the 
root of a tree growing through the eye-socket. On removing it, he is 
relieved of his headache. In the nineteenth, a good man vanquishes a 
robber. In the twentieth, the babe of a holy farmer's wife, who is out 
at work, is saved from a wolf by miraculous rays defending the child. 
In the twenty-first, Kuanon appears to heal a sick girl with a wand 
and drops of water. In the twenty-second, a holy man buys and sets 


free a tortoise about to be killed for food. Three days afterward his 
child falls overboard, and is apparently lost, but after a while returns 
safely on the back of the grateful reptile. In the twenty-fourth, a re- 
tainer of a noble is ordered to kill his master's, son for disobedience to 
him. The servant, unable, through love of his master's son, to do it, 
kills his own son instead. The tableau represents him mourning over 
his son's gory head. His master's son, in remorse, became a priest. 
In the twenty-fifth, a good man is saved from robbers by his dog. In 
the twenty-sixth, a man who had his cargo of rice confiscated for his 
refusal to give the priest his share, repented of his obduracy, and re- 
ceived heavenly evidence of his pardon in a new cargo of rice sent 
by Kuanon. In the twenty-seventh, the son of a court noble breaks 
a precious ink-stone. His father, in a fit of anger, kills him. The 
horrified attendant becomes a priest. In the twenty-eighth, a pious 
recluse is saved from starvation by a miraculous leg of venison. In 
the twenty-ninth, a mountain demon pursues an evil-doer. In the 
thirtieth, a pious wood-cutter hears heavenly music, and Kuanon ap- 
pears to him. In the thirty-first, a worshiper of Kuanon is wounded 
by robbers, thrown into the river, and is accidentally brought up in a 
fisherman's net. Having an image of Kuanon in his bosom, he is re- 
suscitated, and lives to bless his preserver. In the thirty-third, a mer- 
maid appears to a passer-by, and prays him to erect a temple to Kua- 
non. This having been done, the mermaid is reborn into a higher 
state of existence. In the thirty-fourth, Kuanon appears to a traveler. 
The last is a moving tableau, representing a court noble and lady. 

Extreme kindness to animals is characteristic of the Japanese. It 
is the result of the gentle doctrines of Buddha. Several of the mira- 
cle-figures teach the law of kindness to brutes. It is sometimes car- 
ried into a sentimentalism almost maudlin. My jin-riki-sha puller 
makes a detour, out of his way, round a sleeping dog or bantam, 
when the lazy animal might fairly take its chances. When a man 
believes that the soul of his grandfather may be transmigrating 
through a cur, however mangy, or a chick, however skinny, he is not 
going to cause another metempsychosis by murdering the brute, if he 
can help it. Killing a wounded horse to put him out of misery, or in 
useless old age, is never practiced, the idea being too cruel to be en- 




THE foreigner who traces upon his globe or map the outlines of the 
island empire of Japan, conceives of it as a long, narrow, insular strij^ 
of land, stretching from north to south. Seeing that Yezo is in such 
high, and Kiushiu in such low latitude, he thinks of Yedo and Naga- 
saki as lying at the two ends of the magnetic needle. To the native, 
they lie in the line of the sun, the one at its rising, the other at its set- 
ting. The reason for this conception of the native, which is thus in 
rectilinear opposition to that of the foreigner, lies, not in the supposed 
fact that the Japanese do every thing in a contrary manner from our- 
selves, or because the images on his retina are not reversed as on ours, 
but because he has a truer knowledge of his country's topography than 
the alien. The latter knows of Japan only as a strip of land described 
in his dogmatic text-books, a fraction in his artificial system ; the for- 
mer knows it as he actually walks, by dwelling on its soil and looking 
at the sun, the lay of the land, and the pole star. To him, Tokio lies 
in the east, Choshiu in the west, Hakodate in the north, and Satsuma 
in the south. 

The native conception of locality in the mikado's empire is the 
true one. A glance at the map will show that Yezo and a portion of 
Hondo lie, indeed, inclosed in a narrow line drawn north and south. 
Japan may be divided into inhabited and uninhabited land, and Yezo 
must fall within the latter division. Hence, only that part above the 
thirty-sixth parallel may be called Northern Japan. From Yedo to 
Nagasaki is the main portion of the empire, in point of historical im- 
portance, wealth, and ^population. Between the thirty-third and thir- 
ty-sixth, or within three parallels of latitude, on a belt a little over two 
hundred miles wide, stretches from east to west, for six hundred miles, 
the best part of Japan. 

Within this belt lies more than a majority of the largest cities, best 
ports, richest mines, densest centres of population, classic localities, 
magnificent temples, holy places, tea -plantations, silk districts, rice- 


fields, and manufactures. Here, also, have been developed, in times 
past, the nation's greatest treasures the best blood, the commanding 
minds, and the men that have ruled Japan. 

It is interesting to note the shifting of the scenes in the drama of 
Japanese history. In the most ancient times, the ablest men of ac- 
tion and intellect were produced in Yamato, or in the Kinai. In the 
Middle Ages, they arose in the Kuanto. At the opening of modern 
history, they sprung from the Tokaido (Mino, Owari, Mikawa). In 
the latest decades, they came from Kiushiu and the south (Choshiu, 
Satsuma, Tosa, and Hizen). 

An inspection of the map will show a striking configuration of the 
land, on the southern coast of Hondo, adapting and ordaining it as 
the site for the great bulk of the nation's intellect, intelligence, popu- 
lation, and wealth. From Kadzusa on the extreme east, to Choshiu 
on the extreme west, are found in succession a series of bays, at the 
head of each of which stands a large city. On the first is the city of 
Tokio (population, 925,000); on the second, Odawara (20,000); on 
the third, Hamamatsu (50,000) ; on the fourth, Nagoya (400,000) ; 
on the fifth, Ozaka (600,000) ; on the sixth, Hiogo (60,000) ; on the 
seventh, Hiroshima (100,000); on the eighth, Shimonoseki (10,000). 
These lie east and west of each other. These are and were all flour- 
ishing cities, but until lyeyasu's time Yedo was but a village. 

It was a bold stroke of policy to make the obscure place the seat 
of government. It seemed very much to the people of that day and 
country as it would to us were our capital removed from Washington 
to Duluth. 

The general shape of Tokio is that of an egg, with the point to the 
south, the butt to the north. The yolk of this egg is the castle, or 
Shiro, a work of vast proportions. 

The traveler in our land of steam, in which men are too few and 
too valuable to be machines, sees heavy work done by the derrick and 
the engine, and can reckon to a fraction the equivalent for human 
muscle stored up in a pound of coal. Before the labor of the mediae- 
val masons, he wonders how the pygmies of those days could build 
such stupendous works as astonish the tourist in Egypt, India, As- 
syria, China, and Japan, or raise colossal stones, or transport them in 
positions hundreds of miles from their home in the quarry. 

Of architectural works in Japan, the torii, the yashiki, and the shiro, 
or castle, may be said to be original products. The pagoda is from 
China. Though far beyond the structures of Egypt or India in aes- 


thetic merit, the Japanese castles challenge wonder at their vast extent, 
and the immense size of the stones in their walls. In the castle of 
Ozaka, built by Hid6yoshi, some of thb stones are forty feet long, ten 
feet high, and several feet thick. In the castle of Tokio, in the cita- 
del or highest point, the walls have many stones sixteen feet long, six 
wide, and three thick. These were brought from near Hiogo, over 
two hundred miles distant. 

In Asiatic countries labor is cheap and abundant. What the Amer- 
ican accomplishes by an engine and a ton of coal, the exponent of so 
many foot-pounds, or horse-power, the Asiatic accomplishes by thou- 
sands of human arms. A signal instance of the quick triumph of 
muscle came under my own observation while in Tokio. 

A foreigner in the employ of the Japanese Government was con- 
sulted in relation to the choice of a site for a model farm, and was 
shown several eligible places, one of which was included within the 
grounds of an ex-daimio, which had been left for years to the rank 
overgrowth, which, together with the larger trees and bushes, made the 
soil so rooty, and the whole place so unpromising to the foreigner, 
that he declared the site was utterly unfit ; that several years would be 
required to bring it into any thing like proper condition for tillage. 
He then drove off to examine another proposed site. But American 
ways of thinking were, in this case, at fault. 

The Japanese officer in charge immediately and quietly hired eight 
hundred laborers to clear and smooth the land. They worked in re- 
lays, night and day. In one week's time he showed the American " a 
new site," with which he was delighted. It was chosen for tne model 
farm. It was the same site he had first glanced at. The potential 
energy lay in the fact that the land, worthless as real estate, being the 
property of the official, could be sold to the Government for a model 
farm at the highest of fancy prices, paid out of the national treasury. 
The actual energy of eight hundred pairs of arms developed a wilder- 
ness into leveled farm-fields within a week. 

1 The yashiki is a product of architecture distinctively Japanese. 
Its meaning is " spread-out house." It is such a homogeneous struct- 
ure that it strikes the eye as having been cut out of a solid block. It 
is usually in the form of a hollow square, inclosing from ten thou- 
sand to one hundred and sixty thousand square feet of ground. The 
four sides of the square within are made up of four rows, or four un- 
broken lines of houses. In the centre are the mansions of the daimio 
and his ministers. The lesser retainers occupy the long houses which 


form the sides of the square. The space is filled up within with gar- 
dens, both for use and pleasure, recreation-grounds, target walks, and 
kura, or fire-proof warehouses. Mito's grounds were of marvelous 
beauty. The yashiki, on the street front, presents the appearance of a 
continuous house on stone foundations, with rows of wooden barred 
or grated windows. 

The cut represents an " evening view " of Kasumiya Street, a slope 
between the yashiki of the Daimio of Ogaki, in Mino, on the left, and 
that of Hiroshima, in Aki, on the right; and of Sakurada Avenue. 
Each of these proud lords, in erecting his mansion, found that his ri- 
val was building as high and fine a stone foundation as he was. Aki 
was determined to get higher than Ogaki, lest a fudafs windows 
should look down on a kokushiu's lattice ; while Ogaki was bound to 
" get even " with Aki. The rival masonry might have grown higher, 
had not the shogun ordered them to desist. 

All around the yashikis ran a ditch, or moat, from four to twelve 
feet wide, usually of running water. Most of the walls were faced 
with square tiles, fastened diagonally, presenting the appearance of 
thousands of black lozenges, with rounded ridges of white plaster 
about three inches high. To break the monotony of the street front, 
there was one great roofed gate, for the lord and master, flanked with 
porters' lodges, and a smaller one, or postern, on another side, for serv- 
ants and retainers. It was a very important point of etiquette as to 
who should or should not enter through the main gate. On no ac- 
count would any one, unless of very high rank, be admitted in a ve- 
hicle of any sort. At a certain gate, called Gijo, leading to the hon 
maru, or citadel of the Yedo castle, all daimios were obliged to dis- 
mount from their palanquins and walk. The abbot of the temple of 
Zozoji, at Shiba, as a mark of high rank, could enter in a palanquin. 
Such a privilege was equal to a patent of nobility. 

The castle-moats, on varying levels, to make a current and prevent 
stagnation, were supplied with water brought in stone-lined aqueducts 
from the Tonegawa, nine miles distant. In the moats it varied from 
four to twelve feet in depth. The scarp and counter-scarp were faced 
with stone, and where the castle was on high ground the sloping em- 
bankments were sodded, the water flowing scores of feet below. In 
the shallow parts, lotus-flowers grew luxuriantly in summer, and in 
winter thousands of water-fowl, ducks, geese, storks, and herons made 
it their secure home, the people never harming them a statement al- 
most incredible to a foreign sportsman. A number of the shogun's 


swans added grace and beauty to the peaceful scene. It was forbid- 
den to fire a gun within five ri of the castle. I wondered how for- 
eign sportsmen could resist the temptation. 

Let the reader imagine a space of several miles square covered with 
yashikis. To walk through the streets inside the castle enceinte was 
a monotonous and gloomy task. There was nothing to break the dull 
uniformity of black or white tiles and windows, except here and there 
a sworded samurai or a procession. Occasional variety was obtained 
in a very large yashiki by erecting a wall around the entire inclosure, 
and building the houses inside. This made the monotony worse, 
since the eye had no relief in looking at windows, in which, perchance, 
might be a pot of flowers, or peeping eyes. It scarcely added to the 
cheerfulness to meet no common folk, but only proud and pompous 
men with two swords, the mark of the Japanese gentleman of feudal 

The winter head-dress of the Japanese of both sexes is a black 
cloth cap, fitting close to the skull, with long flaps, which were tied 
around over the neck, mouth, and nose, exposing only the eyes. The 
wearing of this cap made a most remarkable difference, according to 
sex. The male looked fiendishly malignant, like a Spanish brigand, 
the effect of two scowling eyes being increased by the two swords at 
his belt. The phrase " he looked daggers at me " had a new signif- 
icance. With the women, however, the effect was the reverse. A 
plump, well-wrapped form lost no comeliness ; and when one saw two 
sparkling eyes and a suggestion of rosy cheeks, the imagination was 
willing to body forth the full oval of the Japanese beauty. 

A dinner given in my honor by the ex-prince of Echizen, in his own 
yashiki, enabled me to see in detail one of the best specimens of this 
style of mansion. Like all the large clans and kokushiu daimios, 
Echizen had three yashikis the Superior, Middle, and Inferior. In 
the second lived the ordinary clansmen, while to the third the serv- 
ants and lower grade of samurai are assigned. Some of these yashi- 
kis covered many acres of ground ; and the mansions of the Go Sanke 
families and the great clans of Satsuma, Kaga, Choshiu, and Chikuzen 
are known at once upon the map by their immense size and com- 
manding positions. Within their grounds are groves, shrines, culti- 
vated gardens, fish-ponds, hillocks, and artificial landscapes of unique 
and surpassing beauty. The lord of the mansion dwelt in a central 
building, approached from the great gate by a wide stone path and 
grand portico of keyaki-wood. Long, wide corridors, laid with soft 


mats, led to the master's chamber. All the wood-work, except certain 
portions, stood in virgin grain like watered silk, except where relieved 
here and there by a hard gleam of black lacquer-like enamel. The 
walls, gorgeously papered with gold, silver, or fanciful and colored 
designs, characteristic of Japanese art among which the pine, plum, 
and cherry tree, the bamboo, lily, the stork, tortoise, and lion, or fans, 
were the favorites. The sliding doors, or partitions, of which three 
sides of a Japanese room is composed, were decorated with paintings. 
Some of the finest specimens of Japanese art I ever saw were in the 
yashikis of Tokio. 

The plan of the city of Yedo, conceived by ly^yasu, was simply 
that of a great camp. This one idea explains its centre, divisions, and 
relations. In the heart of this vast encampment was the general's 
head-quarters a well-nigh impregnable castle. On the most eligible 
and commanding sites were the tents of his chief satraps. These 
tents were yashikis. The architectural prototype of a yashiki is a 
Japanese tent. In time of war, the general's head-quarters are sur- 
rounded by a roofless curtain of wide breadths of canvas stretched 
perpendicularly on posts, presenting a square front like a wall outside, 
and a roomy area within, having in its centre the general's tent. In 
place of this tent put a house ; instead of the canvas stretch continu- 
ous long houses, forming a hollow square inclosing the mansion, and 
you have the yashiki. Shallow observers foreigners, of course 
on first seeing these stretched canvas screens, supposed they were 
"forts," and the crests (mori) of the general, "port -holes" for can- 
non ! Yedo, the camp city of the East, was full of these tents, am- 
plified and made permanent in wood and stone. 

These edifices made the glory of old Yedo, but Tokio sees fewer 
year by year and fire by fire. They were the growth of the necessi- 
ties of feudalism. The new age of Japan does not need them, and 
the next decade, that shall see thousands swept away, will see none 
rebuilt ; and the traveler will look upon a yashiki as one of the many 
curiosities of Old Japan. Yedo was the city of the Tokugawas, and 
the camp of clans. Its architectural products sprung from the soil of 
feudalism. Tokio is the national capital, the city of the mikado, and 
its edifices are at once the exponents of modern necessities and en- 
lightened nationality. 




I SPENT from January 3d to February 16th, 1871, in the new capi- 
tal of Japan, visiting the famous places in the city and suburbs, seeing 
the wonderful sights, and endeavoring by study and questioning to 
reduce to order the myriad impressions that were made upon all my 
senses like a mimic cannonade. During two weeks I taught as a vol- 
unteer in the Imperial College. At the house of the superintendent I 
met many of the officials in the educational and other departments, 
learning their ideas and methods of thinking and seeing. Among my 
novel employments was, upon one occasion, the searching of Wheaton's 
and other works on international law for rules and precedents cover- 
ing an imminent case of hostilities in Yokohama harbor. The captain 
of a French man-of-war, resurrecting one of the exploded regulations 
of the republic of 1795, was threatening to seize a German merchant 
ship, which had been sold to the Japanese, and the officials of the 
Foreign Office had come to their long-trusted American friend for ad- 
vice and the law's precedents. It came to nothing, however. No seiz- 
ure was made, nor hostile gun fired. The furore of traveling abroad was 
then at fever-heat, and thousands of young men hoped to be sent to 
study abroad, at government expense, where tens only could be chosen. 
I made a call on Terashima Munenori, the Vice-minister of Foreign 
Affairs, then in Tsukiji : presenting letters from Mr. Hatakeyama Yo- 
shinari, I was received very kindly. Iwakura (to whom I bore letters 
from his son) and Mr. Okubo at that time were on an important 
political mission to Satsuma, Choshiu, and Tosa, sent thither by the 
mikado. The ex-Prince of Echizen gave an entertainment in my hon- 
or at his mansion. The daimios of Uwajima and Akadzuki, and sev- 
eral of their Jcaros (ministers), were present at the dinner. He present- 
ed me with his photograph, with some verses, of the making of which 
lie was very fond. Mr. Arinori Mori, a young samurai of the Satsuma 
clan, and a great friend of Iwakura, called to see me, and received let- 
ters of introduction to my friends in America. He was then in na- 



tive dress, wearing the traditional two swords, the abolition of which 
he had in vain advocated some months before. He had just received 
his appointment as charge d'affaires of Japan in the United States. 
Messrs. Mori, and Sameshima since charge d'affaires at Paris, now 
(1876) Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs in Tokio stood so high in the 
confidence of Iwakura that they were dubbed, in the political slang 
of the capital, " the legs of Iwakura." Mr. Katsu Awa, though absent 
in Shidzuoka, sent me a very pleasant letter of welcome to Japan. I 
enjoyed a delightful call on Mr. Kanda, the ex-President or Speaker 
of the House of Assembly, in which Mr. Mori had argued reforms, 
the second deliberative body that had been called into existence, ac- 
cording to the oath of the mikado in Kioto, in 1868, that representa- 
tive institutions should be formed. I found Mr. Kanda a student of 
English and American literature, and an earnest thinker. His son, a 
bright lad, was to accompany Mr. Mori to America. I also met a num- 
ber of the prominent and rising men of the country, especially those 
who had been active in the late revolution. The mikado was begin- 
ning to ride out in public ; and I saw at various times a number of the 
kuge, both ladies and gentlemen, in their ancient, gorgeous costumes, 
with their retainers and insignia. I witnessed, also, a grand review of 
the imperial army, a wrestling -match, exhibitions of acrobatics and 
jugglery, theatrical performances, and many things in the political, 
social, and military world that will never again be seen in Japan. I 
visited the first hospital opened in Tokio, by Matsumoto, and the ex- 
cellent school of Fukuzawa, rival of the Imperial College. None of 
the large modern buildings in European style, which now adorn the 
city, were then built. The city was then more Yedo than Tokio. 

I repeatedly visited Oji, so often described by Oliphant and others ; 
M6guro, near which are the graves of the lovers, " Gompachi and 
Komurasaki ;" Takanawa, the Mecca of Japanese loyalty, where are 
the tombs and statues of the forty -seven ronins, and of their lord, 
whom they died to avenge ; Kame Ido, the memorial of the deified 
martyr, Sugawara Michizan6 ; Shiba, Uyeno, Mukojima, and the places 
so well known to residents and tourists, the sight of which but added 
zest to an appetite for seeing all that is dear to a Japanese, which a 
residence of years failed to cloy. I was several times at Zempukuji 
(Temple of Peace and Happiness), one of the oldest shrines of the 
Shin sect of Buddhists, founded by Shinran himself, who with his 
own hands planted the wonderful old jinko-tree, which still flourishes. 
Within the temple grounds were the buildings of the legation of the 


United States of America. Here had dwelt successively Ministers 
Townsend Harris, Robert H. Pruyn, and General Van Valkenbergh. 
United States Vice-consul C. O. Shepherd was then occupying the 
premises. I noticed a somewhat dusty portrait of Franklin Pierce 
hung on the walls of one of the inner empty rooms. The one bright 
oasis spot during his barren administration was the success of Perry's 
mission, and the opening of Japan to the world. The glory of the 
great United States had been here maintained, by its Government 
never paying any rent for its tenantry of buildings, and by extorting 
"indemnities" for every accidental fire, for every provoked injury, 
and even for every man killed in the open and active hostilities of 
war, and in joining the governments of Europe in keeping the feeble 
empire crushed under diplomacy, backed by ships and cannon. 

One of the most important persons for me was a good interpreter. 
A tongue was more than a right arm. To procure one of first-rate 
abilities was difficult. When the embassy, sent out by the ill-starred 
li Kamon no kami, visited Philadelphia, I had frequently seen a lively 
young man whom every one called "Tommy," who had made a de- 
cidedly pleasant impression upon the ladies and the Americans gen- 
erally. " Tommy " was at this time in Tokio. The Echizen officers 
went to him and asked him to accept the position of interpreter, at a 
salary of one thousand dollars, gold, per annum. This was tempting 
pay to a Japanese ; but the foreignized Tommy preferred metropolitan 
life, and the prospect of official promotion, to regular duties in an in- 
terior province. They then sought among the corps of interpreters in 
the Imperial College. The choice fell upon Iwabuchi (rock -edge), 
who, fortunately for me, accepted, and we were introduced. This 
gentleman was about twenty years old, with broad, high forehead, lux- 
uriant hair cut in foreign style, keen, dancing black eyes, and blushing 
face. He was a ronin samurai of secondary rank, and rather well edu- 
cated. His father had been a writing-master in Sakura, Shimosa, and 
Iwabuchi was an elegant writer. Ho wore but one sword. He was 
of delicate frame, his face lighted by intellect, softened by his habitual 
meekness, but prevented by a trace of slyness from being noble. He 
seemed the very type of a Japanese gentleman of letters. He was as 
gentle as a lady. In his checkered experience at Hakodate and other 
cities, he had brushed against the Briton, the Yankee, the French- 
man, and the Russian. At first shy and retiring, he warmed into 
friendship. In his merry moods he would astonish me by humming 
familiar tunes, and recall a whole chapter of home memories by sing- 


ing ^snatches of American college and street songs. In his angry 
moods, when American steel struck Japanese flint, his eyes would 
snap fire and his frame quiver. For over a year Iwabuchi was inval- 
uable to me, until my own articulation became bi-lingual ; but from 
first to last, notwithstanding occasional friction, arising from the dif- 
ference in American and Japanese psychology, we continued, and re- 
main, fast friends. 

My business with the officers of the Echizen clan was finished. I 
was engaged to teach the physical sciences in the city of Fukui, the 
capital of the province, two hundred miles west of Tokio, and twelve 
miles from the Sea of Japan. In accordance with custom observed 
between foreigners and Japanese, we made a contract, which, after 
passing the inspection and receiving the approval of the Guai Mu Sho 
(Office of Foreign Affairs), was written out in duplicate in imposing 
Chinese characters, and in plain English. I agreed to teach chemistry 
and physics for the space of three years, and " not to enter into any 
trading operations with native merchants." The insertion of a comic 
clause, very funny indeed to the American, but quite justifiable by 
the bitter experience of the Japanese, was, that the teacher must not 
get drunk. 

They, on their side, agreed to pay my salary ; to build me a house 
after the European style ; and after three years to return me safely to 
Yokohama ; to hand my corpse over to the United States Consul if I 
should die, or carry me to him should I be disabled through sickness. 
Nothing was said concerning religion in any reference whatever, but 
perfect freedom from all duties whatsoever was guaranteed me on Sun- 
days ; and I had absolute liberty to speak, teach, or do as I pleased in 
my own house. 

As an illustration of the extreme jealousy with which the mikado's 
ministers guarded the supremacy of the national government, the first 
draft of the contract, made by myself, was rejected by the Foreign Of- 
fice because I had written " the government of Fukui," instead of the 
" local authorities," a correction which appeared in the final docu- 

I made the acquaintance of several of the daimios, and many re- 
tainers of various clans. A Fukui samurai, whom I shall call Daremo, 
and who knew to a rung the exact status of every one on the social 
ladder, always informed me as to the rank of the various personages 
whom I met as host or guest. I bought the latest copy of the Bu 
Kuan (Mirror of the Military Families), which he explained and trans- 


latcd for me. In discussing each one, his nose rose and fell with the 
figures before him. "That gentleman is only a karo of a 10,000 koku 
daimio." "This is himself, a fudai daimio of 15,000 koku." With 
profound indifference, I would be informed that the person who called 
on me to inquire after his brother in New York was " merely a samu- 
rai of a 30,000 koku clan." That gentleman whose politeness so im- 
pressed me was " a hatamoto of 800 koku ; but he was very poor since 
the restoration." Dar6mo's congratulations were showered thick and 
fast when I dined with the kokushiu Echizen (360,000 koku), and 
Uwajima (100,000 koku), with five or six karos. He also translated 
for me the letters I received from distinguished Japanese officers. 
With the aid of the Bu Kuan and Daremo, I was soon able to dis- 
tinguish many of the rising and falling men of Japan. 

I had seen the great objects of interest to a tourist. I had feasted 
my eyes on novelty and a new life, yet the freshness of continual glad 
surprise was not yet lost. I had seen the old glory of Yedo in ruins, 
and the new national life of Japan emerging from Tokio in chaos. I 
had stood face to face with paganism for the first time. I had felt 
the heart of Japan pulsing with new life, and had seen her youth 
drinking at the fountains of Western science. I had tasted the hospi- 
tality of one of the " beginners of a better time." I had learned the 
power of the keen sword. For the first time I had experience of pa- 
ganism, feudalism, earthquakes, Asiatic life and morality. I had seen 
how long contact with heathen life and circumstances slowly disinte- 
grates the granite principles of eternal right, once held by men reared 
in a more bracing moral atmosphere. I met scores of white men, 
from Old and New England, who had long since forgotten the differ- 
ence between right and wrong. I had seen also the surface of Japan. 
I was glad to go into the interior. I bid good-bye to Tokio, and 
went to Yokohama to take the steamer to Kob6, whence I should go, 
vi& Lake Biwa, and over the mountains to the city of the Well of 
Blessing, Fukui. 

Our party made rendezvous at a native hotel. It was to be both my 
escort and following. The former consisted of my interpreter, Iwa- 
buchi, one of the teachers of English in the university ; Nakamura, the 
soldier-guard, who had fought in the late civil war ; and the treasurer, 
Emori, a polished gentleman, and shrewd man of the Japanese world. 
There were two servants, and, with my own cook and his wife, we 
made up a party of eight persons, with as many characters and dispo- 
sitions as faces. The ship to take us to Kobe was one of the fine 



steamers of the Pacific Mail Company's fleet, the Oregonian. As sev- 
eral days would elapse before her departure, I made a visit to Kanaza- 
wa, Kamakura, Enoshima, and Fujisawa, with Nakamura, and an Amer- 
ican friend who spoke Japanese fluently. That visit was afterward re- 
peated many times. Every spot made famous by Yoritomo, Yoshit- 
sune, Semman and Kugio, the Hojo, Nitta Yoshisada, Nichiren, and the 
Ashikaga, was seen over and over again, until the life of old Japan 
became as vivid to me as the thrilling scenes of our own late war. 
Besides the architectural remains of these classic places, is a rich mu- 
seum of armor, weapons, and other mediaeval antiquities in the temple 
on Tsuruga-oka, in Kamakura. 

On our ride back, Fuji, all in white, loomed up grandly. A flurry 
of snow added to its beauty. In such a snow-shower the artist must 
have made the spirited sketch here reproduced. Snow rarely falls on 
the Tokaido to a depth greater than two inches, and usually neither 
hoof nor sandal, as in the cut, sinks beneath its level. The Japanese, 
however, make a great fuss over a little cold. They go about with 
their hands in their sleeves, which stick out like the wings of a trussed 
turkey, repeating " samui, samui " (cold, cold), until it loses all origi- 

Travelers on the Tokaido in a Snow-storm. Fuji san. 




THE weather was rough as we embarked, late in the afternoon of 
February 22d, on the Oregonian, and steamed down the Bay of Yedo. 
At night, the fixed white light in the stone tower on Cape Idzu, visi- 
ble twenty miles, reminded us of the new order of things. Of old a 
wood-fire blazed on the promontory. The Nil did not yet know the 
fate to befall her.* 

The next day was foggy, and mal de mer held high revel among 
the passengers. The Oregonian was true to the reputation of its 
namesake given by Bryant " where rolls the mighty Oregon." My 
own thoughts were less poetic. My feelings are best described by 
the Japanese proverb, " A sea-voyage is an inch of hell." 

About midnight we rounded the promontory of Kii, where Jimmu 
passed centuries ago. Its splendid light-house, on a promontory one 
hundred and thirty feet high, on Island, holds a revolving white 
light, alternately flashing and being eclipsed during every minute. 
is a good harbor for wind-bound junks, and the fishermen here are 
noted whalers, hunting whales successfully with nets and spears. The 
light on Cape Shiwo, one hundred and fifty-five feet above water, may 
be seen for twenty miles. Ships from China make this point night or 

The three officers of our party had been empowered to take cabin 
passage with their foreign charge ; but such a foolish waste of money 
was not to be thought of. To pay forty dollars for forty-eight hours, 
and three hundred and forty-two geographical miles of nausea in a 
state-room, was not according to their ideas of happiness. Far better 

* On the night of the 20th of M